The jailbreak Sunday evening came as Ukrainian military forces shelled the area west of Donetsk for several days, which is being held by pro-Russian separatists. One inmate was killed and five were injured; two prison guards were also uninjured in the assault.
The Ukrainian prison service announced 34 of the escaped inmates were returned to the prison, and described the situation as "challenging but manageable." Donetsk council spokesman Maxim Rovensky said the escaped inmates were incarcerated for crimes, including murder, rape and robbery; he did not mention sentences pertinent to anti-government factions involved in the four-month conflict with government troops.
The fighting has displaced thousands of residents of eastern Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions, many of whom have fled to Russia. It has also prevented a thorough investigation of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, shot down July 17 in airspace over the contrasted area.