Russian forces regrouped during what military analysts have described as an "operational pause." But they appear set to press ahead in their offensive through eastern Ukraine.
On Monday, soldiers fired on residents who had taken shelter in a building in the town of Toretsk. Ukrainian officials said crews managed to pull out some survivors. But six civilians were killed.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu visited troops on the front line. He ordered them to target long-range missiles and artillery. Shoigu said Ukrainian forces have used those weapons to strike residential areas controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
Russian leaders have recognized the independence of the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. Their allies in Syria followed their lead.
On July 13th, North Korean authorities added their recognition of Donbas. Russia's ambassador to North Korea, Alexander Matsegora, suggested North Korean workers could help rebuild infrastructure in the region.
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with members of his government over a video link. He said "Clearly, we cannot develop in isolation from the rest of the world." Putin plans to meet this week with his counterparts from Iran and Turkey in a rare trip abroad.