Seven months of unrest in eastern Ukraine

10th November 2014, Comments 0 comments

Unidentified military columns transporting heavy weapons were moving in eastern Ukraine on Monday, raising fears of a return to all-out fighting in the war-torn region.

Here are key dates in the conflict, which has claimed more than 4,000 lives since April in the Donbass mining basin, according to UN figures.

-- APRIL 2014 --- 6: Pro-Moscow demonstrators seize government buildings in nearly a dozen towns and cities in Ukraine's Russian-speaking east, including Donetsk and Lugansk, both capitals of industrial regions of the same name on the border with Russia.

- 13: Kiev announces the launch of an "anti-terrorist" operation in the east.

-- MAY --- 11: Voters call for independence in referendums in Lugansk and Donetsk, rejected as illegitimate by Kiev and its Western allies.

- 25: Ukraine's snap presidential election is won by Petro Poroshenko.

-- JUNE --- 14: Separatists shoot down a Ukrainian military transport plane, killing 49 people, one of a string of aircraft downings.

- 27: The European Union and Ukraine sign a political and economic association agreement whose rejection by former pro-Russian leader Viktor Yanukovych in 2013 had sparked the Ukraine crisis.

Moscow rejects the accord.

-- JULY --- 5-6: Rebels abandon positions in their Slavyansk stronghold as Ukrainian army troops advance.

- 17: Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is shot down over rebel-held territory, killing 298 people from more than a dozen countries.

Rebels and Moscow reject allegations they were responsible.

- 29: The European Union and the United States broaden sanctions on Russia, which they accuse of supporting the rebellion.

-- AUGUST --- 7: Russia bans most US and EU food imports in reprisal.

- 25: Rebels mount a counter-offensive in the southeast, reportedly backed by Russian troops and heavy weapons.

Kiev loses at least 100 soldiers in Ilovaysk.

-- SEPTEMBER --- 5: Twelve-point ceasefire signed in Minsk, that halts full-scale fighting along much of the frontline but does not end deadly shelling at strategic flashpoints.

NATO leaders agree to set up a rapid reaction force in eastern Europe.

- 20: Kiev and the rebels sign a nine-point deal creating a demilitarised zone.

- 23: Rebels say they will hold their own votes on November 2 to select leaders and parliaments.

-- OCTOBER --- 12: Russian President Vladimir Putin orders that 17,600 Russian troops be pulled back from the border with Ukraine.

NATO says a few days later that it has not seen major troop movements.

- 26: Pro-West parties win big in Ukraine general elections that are boycotted in the rebel-held east.

- 30: In Brussels, Russia and Ukraine forge gas supply agreement after fraught negotiations.

-- NOVEMBER --- 2: Separatists in eastern Ukraine vote in Russian-backed leadership elections that Kiev and the West have refused to recognise.

- 6: Kiev imposes passport controls on the boundary with pro-Russian regions after scrapping financial subsidies to those areas.

- 7: Kiev says dozens of Russian tanks have crossed into eastern Ukraine but the US and NATO refuse to confirm the claim.

- 8: Monitors from European security agency OSCE report convoys of unmarked heavy armour and trucks heading towards rebel stronghold Donetsk.

- 9: Some of the most intense artillery shelling since the start of the ceasefire is reported in Donetsk, as more heavy armour drives to the rebel frontline.

The EU and US warn of a return to all-out conflict over the reports of rebel troop reinforcements.

- 10: More heavy weapons are reported on their way towards Donetsk.

© 2014 AFP

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