LUHANSK, Ukraine, July 18 (UPI) -- With the world's focus on Thursday's airliner crash in eastern Ukraine, a major offensive against pro-Russian separatists in the area continues, and the rebel stronghold of Luhansk Friday is without water or electrical power. A nearby oil refinery in Lisichansk is on fire, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti. More than 20 people have died in the shelling of Luhansk by the Ukrainian military, the city council announced. In addition, the shelling damaged an electrical substation in the Kamennobrodsky district of Luhansk, cutting electricity not only to the city but to its water pumping stations as well.
Although pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they allow investigators access to the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, no formal truce in the conflict has been agreed to, or announced.
Explosions were heard throughout the night in the city, and shooting at the airport was reported, the Ukrainian news agency Unian said.