After nearly eight months of pitched battles between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed separatists, the Donetsk airport fell to the rebel forces at the end of January.
The defeat was a major loss for the Ukrainian government. This separatist win was followed a month later by the encirclement of almost 8,000 Ukrainian soldiers at the strategic town of Debaltseve. There, too, Ukrainian troops ultimately had to withdraw following sustained artillery barrages and direct Russian military involvement along the front lines.
Now, despite a ceasefire recently signed in Minsk, the separatists are consolidating their gains in eastern Ukraine. Here’s what the airport, the site of one of the rebels’ most significant victories to date, looks like now.
The airport is like a landfill of aircraft rubble. Here, a Ukrainian separatist walks past a destroyed airliner at the Donetsk airport.
Planes and buildings alike were destroyed in the crossfire between the Ukrainian military and the separatists.
Both sides made use of artillery and heavy weapons, leading to the almost total destruction of the facility’s structures.
Here is a shell of an aeroplane that was completely destroyed by the fighting.
Although the airport is in total ruins, the separatists can still claim a symbolic victory by driving government forces from the area.
Here are the current battle lines in Ukraine, where war continues despite a ceasefire signed on February 12.
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