While much is being said about the remains of downed Malaysia Airline flight MH17 and the location of the 298 casualties of the crash, little is being reported on the mounting civilian deaths in eastern Ukraine as government troops have escalated their attack on the rebel-held region in the days following Thursday’s tragedy.
According to international journalist Harriet Salem, the Red Cross in Luhansk is reporting that 44 civilians have been killed in the past two days as a result of the heavy shelling of the region.
On Friday, the BBC reported that Ukrainian government troops had captured the southeastern section of the city and had surrounded the airport. Electricity and water supplies were both cut off in much of the city and the Russian-owned Lisichansk oil refinery was set on fire.
“The shells are bombarding practically all the residential districts of the city, including its center,” the Luhansk People’s Republic press service reported Friday.
On Sunday, officials with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) confirmed that they had accessed the crash site in eastern Ukraine, the ITAR TASS New Agency reports.
According to OSCE spokesman Michael Bochurkiv, the international observers were brought by armed guards to the crash site as well as to a railway station in the town of Torez where they were shown “3-4 refrigerator railroad cars used to keep the bodies of the crash victims.” He added that at that time they were unable to verify how many bodies had been collected.
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT