Intense fighting broke between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian troops in Eastern Ukraine. The fights killed over 19 civilians according to government officials. The casualties appear as Kiev started a strong offensive against the separatists.
The Ukrainian military is pushing rebels back towards the 2 urban strongholds they control in Luhansk and Donetsk. Attempts to circle them were done, including near the Malayasia Airlines crash site.
Officials declared that 14 people (5 children included) were killed on Monday evening in Gorlovka/Horlivka. In Luhansk, 5 civilians were also killed as shells hit a local retirement home.
Igor Strelkov, rebel commander, declared for journalists present in Donetsk:
“The enemy is throwing everything it has into the battle to complete encirclement of the DNR. We were astonished by how much armor they threw into this battle.”
The fighting also stopped the team of international experts that were supposed to get to the MH17 crash site in order to start investigations. The recovery of some remains was also impeded.
At the moment, the Organization Of Security And Cooperation In Europe negotiates with pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian troops an access corridor for the investigators.