SHAKHTARSK, Ukraine (AFP) – New columns of tanks, trucks and heavy artillery rumbled towards the pro-Moscow rebel stronghold of Donetsk on Monday as fears grew of a return to all-out fighting in war-torn eastern Ukraine.
The Netherlands meanwhile held an emotional ceremony for the 298 victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which was shot down in July, focusing the world’s eyes on the conflict in the ex-Soviet state.
Some 1,600 relatives and friends of the dead from 18 countries gathered alongside members of the Dutch royal family in Amsterdam.
Among the mourners were Dutch schoolchildren who laid flowers for classmates killed as they set out for their summer holidays on board the doomed flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
“What if the holiday had started a day later? What if the plane had been late? What if I wake up and realise it was all just a dream?” Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in his address.
“But there is no what if. Only the harsh reality of 298 dead.”