Ceasefire Seems to Be Holding in Eastern Ukraine
A long-awaited ceasefire seems to have taken hold at last in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday.
The Ukrainian military reported it suffered no combat casualties in the past 24 hours - for the first time in several weeks. Only one soldier had been injured.
Pro-Russian rebels said on Wednesday they have pulled back heavy weapons from the front line in eastern Ukraine as prescribed by the latest ceasefire agreement reached in Belarus’ capital Minsk earlier this month. Rebels in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said they had withdrawn a total of 196 heavy guns and rocket launchers and announced where the weapons had been moved.
They also said internationalmonitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will soon be able to verify they have withdrawn all heavy artillery pieces – something the monitors said they couldn’t do a day earlier.
The truce was meant to take effect on 15 February but fighting for control of key railway junction of Debaltseve continued for a week after the deadline, leaving analysts wonder whether the agreement was stillborn.
Under the terms of the deal Ukraine government forces and the rebels should withdraw heavy weapons to their sides of a buffer zone 50 kilometres wide.
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