The eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass, which consists of the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces, has been the scene of fighting between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels since 2014.
The conflict started shortly after the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula. This annexation led separatists in the eastern part of the country to protest against the government in Kiev. After weeks of civil unrest, an armed conflict between the Ukrainian army and the pro-Russian rebels broke out.
A pivotal moment came in July 2015, when Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over the rebel-controlled area, killing all 298 on board. According to an investigation done by a team of independent researchers, the airliner was shot down with a Russian-made rocket fired from separatist territory.
To this day, fighting continues in the Donbass region in Eastern Ukraine, trapping over six million people in the contested area.