At least 331 people have died since the signing of a “truce” between Ukraine and the Russian-backed militants waging war in the eastern part of the country. The United Nations says fighting has continued “on an almost daily basis.” The airport in Donetsk, a crucial transportation hub, has been flattened by shelling. According to the Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, at least 3,000 Russian troops remain in the country.
The ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels in the country’s east has all but collapsed as the separatists continue to launch attacks on the crucial Donetsk airport, according to reports.
The Russian-backed separatists are reportedly firing artillery at the airport grounds that are controlled by Ukrainian government troops. Five government soldiers and some rebels died in the fighting, according to Ukraine’s Defense Council, and there were additional reports of civilian casualties on Wednesday.
As exercises in cognitive dissonance go, it’s hard to beat the first sentence of this Washington Post report on events in Ukraine:
Fighting intensified in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday despite a fragile cease-fire, as pro-Russian rebels appeared to be close to capturing the strategically important Donetsk airport.
This ceasefire appears to be fragile in the sense that a piece of china you have just shattered is fragile.
In the Post’s defense, at least some of the parties to the truce still speak as though it is still in effect. The Ukrainian government, perhaps fearing the military consequences of a complete breakdown and hoping to buy some time, is “reluctant” to declare the agreement over, according to the Post.