This is all that's left of the strategically crucial Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine

Donetsk airport beforeWikimedia CommonsThe Donetsk airport before the fighting.

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.

Ukraine separatist Donetsk AirportREUTERS/Baz RatnerAn armed man of the separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic army stands near aeroplanes damaged by months of fighting at the Donetsk airport , February 26, 2015.

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.

Ukraine separatists Donetsk AirportREUTERS/Baz RatnerAn armed man of the separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic army stands in part of the Donetsk airport damaged by months of fighting, February 26, 2015.

Here is a shell of an aeroplane that was completely destroyed by the fighting.

Donetsk AirportREUTERS/Baz RatnerAeroplanes damaged by months of fighting are seen at the Donetsk airport, February 26, 2015.

Although the airport is in total ruins, the separatists can still claim a symbolic victory by driving government forces from the area.

Ukraine separatists Donetsk AirportREUTERS/Baz RatnerTwo armed men of the separatist self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic army are seen in the Donetsk airport, damaged by months of fighting, February 26, 2015.

Here are the current battle lines in Ukraine, where war continues despite a ceasefire signed on February 12.

Ukraine

Reuters

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