During the summer of 2014 the conflict in southeast Ukraine escalated. The Ukrainian army tried to regain control of the areas previously taken over by Russia-backed militia groups. The city of Sloviansk was taken back by Ukraine. Russia-backed fighters from the liberated areas moved to Donetsk and other places where the rebels still had control.
The Ukrainians closed in on the city of Donetsk, one of the rebel strongholds. Artillery barrages fired by both sides killed civilians caught up in the crossfire. Buildings, neighbourhoods and a high-security prison were damaged by the shelling. As fighting intensified, more people fled the area.
Meanwhile, the pro-Russian groups also tried to claim back territory. Supported by pro-Russian volunteers, soldiers, weapons and tanks from Russia, they regained control of the border areas. With both sides firmly engaged in the fighting, the conflict moved ever closer to the edge of a full-scale war.
Uglegorsk, August 13, 2014 - Children gather in the street soon after Ukrainian forces regained control of Uglegorsk. © Pierre Crom
Dyakove, August 2,0 2014 - Russian-backed separatist Pavel Ilitsch, military commander of Rovenky and his girlfriend, inspect newly seized Ukrainian territories. © Pierre Crom