Donbass insurgents interviewed on 27 May admitted that there were 16 fighters from Ossetia operating around Donetsk for at least two months prior. Plans for another 8 million dollar aid package were announced on 1 August 2014. Fighting between insurgents and government forces across the Donbass region continued "constantly" over the course of the day.  A report by Radio Free Europe said that there were suspicions that the battalion was either created directly by the GRU, or that it was at least sanctioned by it. The Ukrainian military failed to crush the separatist uprisings due to Russian military intervention, and, after mid-2015, the conflict was largely "frozen" due to a series of ceasefires, although minor clashes continued. Separatist forces captured a Ukrainian checkpoint at Krymske, attacked other checkpoints in the area, and shelled villages near Shchastya.  A "back to school ceasefire" to begin on 25 August 2017 also immediately collapsed when, on that very day, both combatants claimed that the other side had violated it. As this attack occurred, insurgents in Luhansk received reinforcements. The war has ebbed and flowed in the months since Minsk II was signed but this is of little solace to the civilians of Donbass who have been denied their right to peaceful self-determination by the international community.  The remaining Ukrainian forces were either captured, killed, or were forced to withdraw from the airport, allowing DPR forces to overrun it.  Insurgents had previously used Savur-Mohyla to shell Ukrainian troops around the town of Marynivka.  As the conflict escalated in May 2014, Russia employed a "hybrid approach", deploying a combination of disinformation tactics, irregular fighters, regular Russian troops, and conventional military support to destabilise the Donbass region. Ukrainian troops attempted to fight off the insurgents, but were forced to retreat after a substantial number of men were wounded by insurgent fire. Separatists planned to incorporate most of Ukraine's southern and eastern regions into the new confederation, including the key cities of Kharkiv, Kherson, Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Zaporizhzhia and Odessa. On 12 April, armed forces led by Russian operative Igor Girkin stormed and occupied government buildings in other regional centers. TheÂ Donbass WarÂ was an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine which was fought between the Ukrainian government and the Russian-backed separatist Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics.  Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko declared a day of national mourning.  The 29 August 2018 ceasefire also failed. From the beginning of March 2014, in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and the Euromaidan movement, protests by Russia -backed anti-government separatist groups took place in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, collectively called the … NATO said in July 2014 that it considered the conflict a war with Russian irregulars, and others considered it to be a war between Russian proxies and Ukraine. One important bridge collapsed in the fighting, severing a critical route out of the city. , By August 2014, the Ukrainian "Anti-Terrorist Operation" was able to vastly shrink the territory under the control of the pro-Russian forces, and came close to regaining control of the Russo-Ukrainian border. Such volunteer centres work in all large cities and many small settlements of Ukraine, except those which aren't controlled by government.  It abandoned the separatist project, and replaced it with the idea of federalisation of Donbass within Ukraine. According to the city administration, these districts were heavily damaged.  Separatists themselves reported only two deaths in fighting at Mykolaivka. , Starting on 4 May 2014, the United Ossetia Party and the Union of Paratroopers in the pro-Russian breakaway Republic of South Ossetia announced a recruitment drive meant to send veterans of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict to protect "the peaceful population of Ukraine's southeast".  Heavy fighting took place in the village of Markyne, 7 kilometres (4 1⁄4 mi) from Novoazovsk. This is similar to what Russia has done in other pro-Russian protectorates established following post-Soviet conflicts, including in Transnistria, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia.  An insurgent commander in Donetsk, Pavel Paramonov, told journalists he was from Tula Oblast in Russia. This was generally taken as an admission by Russia that its special forces were involved in the conflict.  More fighting broke out at Luhansk International Airport on 9 July. He then petitioned the Russian Federation for military support to protect against "the threat of intervention by NATO" and "genocide".  The aircraft was preparing to land at Luhansk International Airport, and was carrying troops and equipment from an undisclosed location. 312 of the civilian deaths were foreigners: 298 passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, 11 Russian journalists, an Italian journalist, one Russian civilian killed in cross-border shelling and a Lithuanian diplomat.  But according to a Ukrainian Armed Forces spokesman on 20 February 2017 separatists attacks continued, although he did state there was a "significant reduction in military activity.  These forces include the Donbas Battalion, Azov Battalion, Kharkiv Battalion, and Oleh Lyashko's militia. On 12 February 2015, the Minsk II armistice was agreed upon, but separatists launched a fresh offensive on Debaltseve and forced the government forces to withdraw.  OSCE monitors reported on 8 November that there were large movements of unmarked heavy equipment in separatist-held territory.  Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko said that he hoped that the "Day of Silence" would encourage the signing of a new peace deal.  By the end of 2017, the OSCE observatory mission had accounted for around 30,000 individuals in military-style dress crossing from Russia to Donbass at the two border checkpoints it was allowed to monitor. To effect this change, it would soon switch gears from hybrid warfare to conventional warfare.  A column of armoured vehicles crossed into Ukraine from Russia near Novoazovsk on 25 August. , As reported on 27 December 2018, Yuriy Biriukov, an advisor to Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, claimed that almost the entire "grey zone" between the warring sides had been liberated from Russian-led forces without breaching the Minsk peace agreements, and came under the control of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Battle of Debaltseve.  DPR prime minister Aleksandr Zakharchenko stated that if the Ukrainian government made "reasonable proposals to lay down arms, close borders, we will talk on equal terms as equal partners".  During the continued fighting, militants blew up a bridge over a river in the village of Zakitne.  Within hours after its start both pro-Russian and Ukrainian sides accused each other of violating this truce.  According to a statement released by the OSCE on the day after the conference, all parties agreed that the fighting had "subsided in recent days", and that the "situation along 70%" of the buffer zone was "calm".  They set up a roadblock near the village. , 18 soldiers were killed during an insurgent attack upon an army checkpoint near the city of Volnovakha, on 22 May. , By 25 August, an insurgent counter-offensive had stalled the government's offensive on Donetsk and Luhansk cities. , After a government counter-offensive as part of the "Anti-Terrorist Operation" in Donetsk Oblast on 2–3 May, the insurgents were routed from Kramatorsk's occupied SBU building.  Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said "there was and is no evidence" to support NATO's statement.. One militant named Oleg, part of the Vostok Battalion, told reporters "In 2008 they were killing us and the Russians saved us. The intense combat across Shakhtarsk Raion forced a party of Dutch and Australian policemen to call off an attempt to investigate the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. As broken down by region, 78% of those polled from Eastern Ukraine (including Dnipropetrovsk Oblast) opposed said intervention, along with 89% in Southern Ukraine, 93% in Central Ukraine, and 99% in Western Ukraine. 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