Separatists And The Ukrainian Army Have Devastated Donetsk's Airport

Donetsk Airport Control TowerShamil Zhumatov/REUTERSA Ukrainian national flag flies at top of a badly damaged traffic control tower as smoke rises after shelling at the Donetsk Sergey Prokofiev International Airport in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, October 12, 2014.

A ceasefire is technically in place in eastern Ukraine, but Donetsk International Airport continues to be the site of intense shelling and fighting between the Ukrainian army and Russian-backed separatists.

The fighting continues to rage throughout the rebel-held city of Donetsk. The Ukrainian army holds the airport, but the separatists have mounted frequent and sustained attacks in order to push the government forces out.

The continuation of hostilities has prompted the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to release a report from their Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine on Oct. 17. The report found that the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine “remained tense.”

The report states that the monitoring mission heard repeated loud explosions throughout Donetsk and its surroundings that were consistent with artillery rounds. On-the-ground reporters have also circulated images of severe damage at the airport.

The fight for control of the Donetsk Airport remains one of the key sticking points standing in the way of a more robust ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. The separatists are unwilling to allow the Ukrainian government to retain control of the area, while the Ukrainian military refuses to withdrawal.

Ukraine and Russia entered into high-level peace talks on Oct. 16 with other European governments in an attempt to bring an end to the increasingly frozen conflict. Despite encouraging words from Russian President Vladimir Putin, the official spokesman of the Kremlin condemned Europe for its biased treatment towards Russia.

Ukraine Russian Separatist Donetsk AirportShamil Zhumatov/REUTERSA pro-Russian separatist fires an automatic grenade launcher from his position during fighting with Ukrainian government forces near the Sergey Prokofiev International Airport in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on October 9, 2014.

Fighting for control of the airport has continued almost unabated since May, when the Ukrainian government first attempted to dislodge separatists who had taken control of the facility. Months of back-and-forth shelling between Ukrainian and separatist forces have left the airport being heavily damaged.

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