Missionaries native to Ukraine are risking their lives to bring life-saving aid to civilians as violations of a cease-fire add to the nearly 7,000 people who have perished.
A cease-fire signed in February between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces has been crumbling fast in the past week as troops on both sides have reported casualties. The February agreement followed the break-down of a prior cease-fire signed in September 2014. The United Nations estimates more than 6,800 people, both civilians and troops, have been killed since April 2014, with 17,100 wounded.
Untold misery continues to unfold in a conflict little understood in the West. Preceding the battles was the collapse in February 2014 of the Ukrainian government as protests mounted. Demonstrators raged at the government’s decision, under pressure from Russia, to forego a trade pact that would have drawn Ukraine closer to the European Union. Protestors were further incensed at the subsequent acceptance of a major loan from Russia.