Ceasefire largely holding in Ukraine

2015-02-15 12:39
A dog walks near a Ukrainian IFV on the road between the towns of Dabeltseve and Artemivsk, Ukraine. (Petr David Josek, AP)

A dog walks near a Ukrainian IFV on the road between the towns of Dabeltseve and Artemivsk, Ukraine. (Petr David Josek, AP)

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Moscow - A ceasefire between the Kiev government and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine appeared to be largely holding after it was implemented overnight to Sunday.

The pause in fighting that started at midnigh is part of a peace plan hammered out in the Belarusian capital Minsk on Thursday.

It was brokered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, with Russian President Vladimir Putin also in attendance.

There was heavy fighting in advance of the deadline, especially around the disputed transport hub of Debaltseve, resulting in more than a dozen deaths.

Merkel and Hollande telephoned Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Putin on Saturday to appeal to them to stick to the Minsk agreement. Further calls were expected on Sunday.

The Kiev government withheld judgement on the state of the ceasefire on Sunday.

"The first few hours are very important, which is why we are observing the situation together with the military. It is still too early to draw any conclusions," government spokesperson Sviatoslav Zegolko said on his Facebook page.

The leader of the pro-Russian rebels in the city of Donetsk, Eduard Basurin, accused the Ukrainian military of attacks in Debaltseve.

Meanwhile, civil defence authorities reported early on Sunday that a Russian "aid convoy" had crossed the border into eastern Ukraine.

The convoy, the 14th so far, consisted of more than 170 trucks bearing the words "Humanitarian Aid from the Russian Federation" with a reported 1 800 tonnes of supplies.

Read more on:    angela merkel  |  franscois hollande  |  vladimir putin  |  russia  |  ukraine  |  ukraine crisis

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