الإثنين , مايو 17 2021

Ukraine truce holds despite attacks

Pro-Russian rebel in Donetsk - 27 JuneSome rebel leaders are observing the ceasefire while others are against it

A Ukrainian government ceasefire in the conflict in the east of the country appears to be holding, despite attacks by pro-Russia rebels.

Several government-held sites came under fire overnight and in the morning but no casualties were reported.

President Petro Poroshenko extended the week-long ceasefire on Friday for three days, saying he was hoping for progress on his peace plan.

Some rebel leaders said they would match the truce but others oppose it.

Mr Poroshenko’s announcement came hours after he had signed a landmark EU trade pact – the issue that has been the trigger of the recent crisis.

He said it was a “historic” moment and Ukraine’s most important day since independence.

The refusal of Mr Poroshenko’s predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, to sign the EU deal – under pressure from Russia – led to protests in Kiev and his eventual overthrow this year.

Russia has since warned it will hit Ukraine with punishing trade restrictions if the pact has a negative effect on its economy.

But speaking on Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Russian TV that it would be easier to solve the Ukrainian crisis if the United States was not involved.

“Our American colleagues… prefer to push the Ukrainian leadership along a confrontational path,” he said.



Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

Please turn on JavaScript. Media requires JavaScript to play.

President Poroshenko said the EU deal “marks a historic day for Ukraine”

Key steps

In the latest fighting, separatists opened fire with mortars on the airfield in the town of Kramatorsk, a Ukrainian forces base near Kryva Luka and another base in Donetsk region, military reporter Dmytro Tymchuk said on his Facebook page (in Russian).

Later the Defence Ministry reported more attacks in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and said the Ukrainian army had regained control of a checkpoint outside Sloviansk.

No casualties have been reported.

A gas distribution station was also targeted in the third attack. There were no casualties on the government side.

One of the leaders of the self-declared “Donetsk People’s Republic” in the east, Aleksander Boroday, said the new truce would be observed until 30 June.

However, two other senior rebels in the Donetsk region, Pavlo Gubarev and Igor Girkin, were quoted by local media as saying they rejected the truce.

Mr Poroshenko agreed to extend the truce after meeting top security and defence officials on his return from Brussels.

It will continue until 22:00 local time (19:00 GMT) on Monday.

A statement on the Ukrainian presidential website pointed to a policy statement on Ukraine, issued by the European Council on Friday which set out key steps it expected to happen by Monday.

They include the return of three key checkpoints to Ukrainian forces and the “launch of substantial negotiations on the implementation of President Poroshenko’s peace plan”.

Ukrainians in Kiev celebrate the EU deal, 27 JuneUkrainians in Kiev celebrated the EU deal

Russian President Vladimir Putin has insisted on a long-term ceasefire to allow for negotiations between the Ukrainian government and separatists, urging Mr Poroshenko to embark on a “path of peace, dialogue and accord”.

Mr Poroshenko set out a 15-point peace plan on 20 June. It involves decentralising power and holding early local and parliamentary elections.

It also proposes the creation of a 10km (six-mile) buffer zone on the Ukrainian-Russian border, and a safe corridor for pro-Russian separatists to leave the conflict areas.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Russia the EU was prepared for “drastic measures” if there was no speedy progress on the plan.

More than 420 people have been killed in fighting between pro-Russia rebels and government forces in eastern Ukraine since mid-April, the UN estimates.

The separatists have declared independence, claiming that extremists have taken power in Kiev. Their move followed Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Europe map

شاهد أيضاً

Bishop of the Southern United States of America, warns of a fake email attributed to him

Ashraf Helmey His Grace Bishop Youssef, Bishop of Texas and Southern United States, warned that …

اترك تعليقاً

لن يتم نشر عنوان بريدك الإلكتروني. الحقول الإلزامية مشار إليها بـ *