Ukraine: Fresh shelling as regime blocks access to crash site

Sunday, August 3, 2014

There had been “constant and heavy shelling” by the Ukraine army, Susan Ormiston of CBC News reported from Donetsk on July 28, during the past two days on the towns and villages in the Donetsk region surrounding the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

The site was turned over to international investigators four days ago by Donetsk self-defence fighters, but the investigators have not been able to access it due to military operations by the Ukraine army. Donetsk fighters say the army controls the area surrounding the site. There are no observers present.

Ormiston said a convoy of monitors tried for the second day in a row to reach the MH17 crash site. Once again, they were blocked. She says today’s convoy passed easily through the checkpoints of Donetsk fighters, located about 50 km outside the city. But then it was prevented by the military operations of Ukraine armed forces from reaching the site.

Associated Press reporters say the town of Shakhtarsk is under heavy bombardment. Other towns in the immediate vicinity of the crash are also under attack.

Ormiston says local fighters have created a defensive perimeter well outside Donetsk, which contradicts a print report by Mark MacKinnon in the Globe and Mail two days earlier saying they were retreating into the city centre for a “last ditch” fight.

The Ukrainian government is not commenting. Officials in Luhansk say that overnight shelling of the city killed five people and injured 15.

A New York Times report on July 28 detailed the failed efforts of international investigators to reach the MH17 crash site as well as the Ukrainian army offensive.

A Russia Today news report summarised Ukraine army shellings across southeast Ukraine on July 27. Many civilians were killed or injured. Unguided rockets fell on neighbourhoods, a supermarket, bus shelter and a childcare centre.

Shells struck a Ukrainian Orthodox Church compound in Horlovka, north of Donetsk, where some of the heaviest shelling has taken place.

[Abridged from, where you can read an account of anti-war protests breaking out in Ukraine.]

Like Green Left Weekly on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

From GLW issue 1019