Ukraine’s government says its armed forces have surrounded Donetsk, the stronghold of pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country – but for the local people the price has been high.
Fierce fighting, involving artillery, tanks, mortar bombardments, air strikes and missile attacks, has left many communities in ruins, with untold numbers of civilian casualties.
One of the towns is Marinka, 35 kilometres from Donetsk.
It was badly damaged as Kyiv’s soldiers pushed forward vowing to crush the rebels.
Most of the inhabitants have fled, electricity and water supplies were cut.
One local woman said: “We are out getting water. We haven’ t had any for days now. It’s absurd, a nightmare. This is no way to live. Why do they kill civilians? Why? Tell me.”
In Moscow they were asking the same question outside the Ukrainian embassy.
At a demonstration against Russia’s involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine anti-war activist Pavel Shelkov said: “We are protesting against war. We are mourning the victims. We are against what is happening right now. The Russian people, normal Russian people, are against the war.”
The private Moscow Echo radio station reported about 200 people turned out for the demonstration.
It was dispersed by police with at least a dozen arrests.
The United Nations said on Wednesday that the death toll in the recent conflict has doubled in the past fortnight, with the number of people killed now standing at 2,086.
with Reuters and AFP
WATCH: resident of Yasynuvata, near Donetsk, films damage caused by continued fighting. Filmed on August 12. Source: Татьяна Евралева
Yasynuvata, near Donetsk, shows damage caused by continued fighting. Filmed on August 12. Source: игорь иванов