While the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France are discussing the fate of eastern Ukraine during the country's weeklong ceasefire, the eastern city of Slovyansk — which is occupied by the rebel forces and surrounded by the Ukrainian army — remains under siege. Amid consistent clashes, residents are gathering to mourn civilian deaths and pray for a quick end to the conflict. For the rebel fighters defending their positions in the outskirts of the small town, the ceasefire is something happening elsewhere. They don't trust it, and say the Ukrainian army is only using the opportunity to bring in more heavy weaponry and refill stocks of ammunition.
Early on June 21, VICE News embedded with a small group of rebel fighters as they walked quietly through a field of high grass to an abandoned chemical plant controlled by the pro-government troops. Their mission was to stage an attack and collect intelligence about the enemy's sniper positions.