Quite a humanitarian crisis is emerging as Ukrainian forces continue to make gains toward capturing the rebel strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Earlier this week, it was reported that forces from Kiev had entered Luhansk, one of the remaining pillars of the pro-Russian rebels for the first time and were also setting their sights on Donetsk, the veritable capital of the insurgency and Ukraine fifth-largest city.
On Tuesday, Reuters said that fighting is now underway in the center of Luhansk as the AP added that a town near Donetsk had been captured, "tightening the noose around the key rebel-held stronghold."
However, as the violence intensifies, a steady stream of news from the area, in addition to food and electricity, is becoming scarce. From the AP:
Fighting between government troops and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine has forced nearly 344,000 people to flee their homes, according to the United Nations — a number that has only grown as the humanitarian situation in rebel-held cities deteriorates.
The report noted that in Luhansk there hasn't been running water, electricity, or phone connections for over two weeks.
Ukraine's Yatsenyuk says nearly 15% of grain crop will be lost due to fighting http://t.co/LAqT80h3RH— ForexLive (@ForexLive) August 19, 2014
Meanwhile, as the two sides blame each other for an attack on a refugee convoy that killed 15 people and Russian and Ukrainian representatives remain unable to make headway in their talks in Berlin, the United Nations says the death toll in the four-month conflict has passed 2000.