July 28, 2014 -
Web map of Donetsk, Luhanks and Torez
Intensified fighting in eastern Ukraine is not only killing hundreds of people but is also impeding the work of teams investigating the downing of MH17.
The Kiev government has launched a major offensive to regain control of rebel-held areas in the area of Donetsk and Luhansk, two eastern cities large pro-Russian populations.
As the fighting and artillery shelling continue, investigators are having trouble reaching and working in the area of the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines MH17, which was shot down by a missile on July 17.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report on the fighting in Ukraine today and said "at least 1,000 people have died from mid-April until 15 July."
Fight for Resource-Rich Provinces
The bloodshed in eastern Ukraine began after pro-Russian separatists began seizing government buildings in April and staged elections for secession from Ukraine. It followed the fall of the former pro-Moscow government over natural gas import policies.
(See a chronology of the Ukraine Conflict.
Eastern Ukraine is rich in coal deposits and has long been the grain basket of eastern Europe and Russia. It is a major producer and exporter of corn and wheat. Russia, which is now supporting peace talks, has over the last months moved troops to and from its border with Ukraine and has been accused of aiding the secessionist rebels with special forces and undercover agents working in eastern Ukraine.