Ukraine Donbass Ceasefire Violated Over 20 Times - President
Ceasefire in Ukraine's Donbass region was violated more than 20 times in the last 24 hours, Ukrainian President Poroshenko told German Chancellor Merkel.
He was quoted by Germany's Zeit Online as reporting the truce was "not being observed", just days after Kiev announced its troops were laying down arms used for months against pro-Russian rebels in the east and south.
Activists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are thus forcing soldiers into not holding on to the ceasefire, Petro Poroshenko believes.
The press service of the self-proclaimed "Luhansk People's Republic", on the other hand, refutes Poroshenko's claims and says it was Ukrainian soldiers that first opened fire on Sunday.
ITAR-TASS reports that, according to the "People's" administration, the Ukrainian National Guard had earlier used mortars against Ananevka village close to the border with Russia, despite the ceasefire.
Poroshenko also told Chancellor Angela Merkel that Germany should have a more comprehensive role in helping Ukraine to implement the peace plan.
He also called on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to bolster its presence in the Donbass to ensure both sides will deliver on the ceasefire.
US Vice President Joe Biden, upon speaking with Ukraine's head of state, said Washington was closely monitoring the situation and deemed it to be one of its top priorities.
Ending fire was among the first steps of a fifteen-point peace plan promoted by the President and the Kiev administration, which called on rebels to also lay down arms and leave the official buildings they have been holding for months now.
It also envisages that prisoners, hostages and rebel-captured OSCE observers who have been detained by either troops or activists be freed.
The failure to wind down tensions in Ukraine is due to be discussed at a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers in Brussels.
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