Despite cease-fire, Ukraine violence far from over

  • From a nearby building, a pro-Russian commander directs artillery fire upon the Ukrainian army positions at the airport in Donetsk, Ukraine, Oct. 4, 2014
  • The main terminal of Donetsk Sergey Prokofiev International Airport hit by shelling during fighting between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government forces in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Oct. 8, 2014.
  • A driver sits inside a bus during an exchange of prisoners-of-war (POWs) near Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Sept. 21, 2014. The two sides, that of the government forces and the pro-Russian separatists, are exchanging POWs under the terms of the current cease-fire. 
  • A woman sits inside a basement used as a shelter from the recent shelling in the town of Yasinovataya, eastern Ukraine, Sept. 22, 2014.
  • Members of the pro-Russian rebels, who are prisoners-of-war (POWs), enter a bus after being exchanged, north of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Sept. 21, 2014. The two sides, that of the government forces and the pro-Russian separatists, are exchanging POWs under the terms of the current cease-fire.
  • A Ukrainian serviceman inspects an abandoned house in the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdeyevka, near Donetsk, Sept. 8, 2014. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko visited the eastern port of Mariupol on Monday and promised to deal a “crushing defeat” to pro-Russian rebels massed on the edge of town if they tried to advance in violation of a cease-fire agreement.
  • A cat sits in front of a building that was damaged in the recent shelling, in the town of Yasinovataya, eastern Ukraine, Sept. 22, 2014.
  • A member of the Ukrainian national guard reacts as he stands at a checkpoint near the town of Slavyanoserbsk, in the Luhansk region, Sept. 10, 2014. Ukraine’s president said on Wednesday that Russia had removed the bulk of its forces from his country, raising hopes for a peace drive now underway after five months of conflict in which more than 3,000 people have been killed.
  • Members of the Ukrainian national guard stand at a checkpoint nearby the town of Slavyanoserbsk, in the Luhansk region, Sept. 10, 2014. Ukraine’s president said on Wednesday that Russia had removed the bulk of its forces from his country, raising hopes for a peace drive now underway after five months of conflict in which more than 3,000 people have been killed.
  • A businessman looks out a window for the motorcade of Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, Sept. 8, 2014, in Mariupol, Ukraine. After more than three nights of shelling on the outskirts of the strategic port city, European monitors say that a cease-fire in the region between Kiev’s forces and pro-Russian separatists is largely holding. In a speech to local residents and journalists, Poroshenko stressed Ukraine’s commitment to defend Mariupol.
  • A pro-Russian rebel holds a dog named Devka with a hand grenade attached to the leash in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Sept. 3, 2014. A day ahead of a NATO summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued his own peace plan for eastern Ukraine, calling on the Russian-backed insurgents there to “stop advancing” and urging Ukraine to withdraw its troops from the region. Hours earlier, Ukraine had issued a vague statement about agreeing with Putin on cease-fire steps. The separatists rejected the move, saying no cease-fire was possible without a pullback by Ukraine, while Putin’s spokesman claimed that Moscow could not agree to a cease-fire because it was not a party to the conflict.
  • Unmarked military vehicles burn on a country road in the village of Berezove, eastern Ukraine, Sept. 4, 2014, after a clash between pro-government troops and Russian-backed separatist militia. Separatist rebels have made major strides in their offensive against Ukrainian government forces in recent days, drawing on what Ukraine and NATO says is ample support from the Russian military. 
  • Ukrainian servicemen play basketball in a school building in the eastern Ukrainian town of Ilovaysk, Aug. 27, 2014.
  • A woman looks after her friend, a hospital patient evacuated to the basement after early-morning shelling hit nearby in Donetsk, Ukraine, Aug. 24, 2014. Ukraine’s national day of independence was celebrated in Kiev on Sunday, though many on hand were skeptical about next week’s negotiations with President Vladimir Putin of Russia.
  • A Russian APC moves in a field in about 6.2 miles from the Russia-Ukrainian border control point at Russian town of Donetsk, Rostov-on-Don region, Aug. 18, 2014.
  • Fifteen-year-old Yana Fenenko lies on a bed in a children’s hospital after suffering severe shrapnel wounds in Donetsk, Ukraine, Aug. 20, 2014. Thirty-four people have been killed in fighting between pro-Russian separatists and government troops in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region over the past 24 hours, the local government said. 
  • A woman near the entrance of a hospital, after coming up from the basement for some fresh air, in Donetsk, Ukraine, August 10, 2014. The Ukraine military’s artillery bombardment of this rebel capital with ground-to-ground rockets reached its most intense level yet on Sunday. 
  • Activists shout during clashes with forces from the Kiev-1 volunteer battalion on Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014. Demonstrators on Thursday confronted city workers attempting to clear a central square, lighting tires on fire in protest against the city government’s move. Dark plumes of smoke from burning rubber rose above Independence Square as workers guarded by armed men in camouflage dismantled some of the barricades surrounding the area. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)
  • A woman cries during a religious service held by villagers in memory of the victims at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, near the village of Hrabove, in eastern Ukraine, July 22, 2014.
  • Armed pro-Russia separatists stand guard near the train station as intense shelling rocked the area in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, July 21, 2014. Insurgent fighters closed off the roads in the area and terrified civilians were fleeing the fighting in minibuses and on foot. Sporadic clashes have taken place around the separatist stronghold as both sides ignored calls for a ceasefire following the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
  • Blood stains are seen on a wrecked rebel truck in a Donetsk neighborhood, May 27, 2014. Two trucks ferrying rebels were attacked and destroyed during heavy fighting around the airport Tuesday morning. More than 50 pro-Russian rebels were killed in an unprecedented assault by Ukrainian government forces, which raged into a second day on Tuesday after a newly-elected president vowed to crush the revolt in the east once and for all.

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At least 3,660 died and 8,756 have been wounded in eastern Ukraine since the conflict broke out in mid-April, according to the United Nations. Despite the last month’s ceasefire, the death toll is still rising.

A cease-fire between rebels and the government was announced last month, but since then violence has continued and 331 deaths have been recorded, though the U.N. notes that some may have died just prior to the ceasefire.

The U.N.’s findings signals that while American attention has shifted to the Ebola outbreak in western Africa and airstrikes in the Middle East, the situation in Ukraine is precarious at best and far from resolved.

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