After increased violence had led to so many recent deaths in Ukraine – including a woman who worked for a Fellowship-supported kindergarten – there were hopes that this weekend’s ceasefire would be a positive change in the region. CNN reports that the ceasefire is not holding, however, as fighting has resumed in Mariupol, in eastern Ukraine:
Less than two days into a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, deadly violence erupted once again between the military and pro-Russian separatists, casting further doubt about whether the peace plan will hold.
Five Ukrainian security forces were killed and 25 were wounded in fighting with the separatists, Ukrainian defense spokesman Andriy Lysenko said.
He said at least 129 violations of the ceasefire have already taken place — ranging from small arms fire to mortar attacks …
Dmytro Chalov, a spokesman for a sector of the Ukrainian army, said mortar fire pummeled the Mariupol area of eastern Ukraine.
The ceasefire went into effect more than 24 hours earlier, at midnight Saturday night.
Monday was slated to be a key day in the truce — when both sides are supposed to withdraw heavy weapons. But neither has done so.
The Ukrainian army still has plans to pull heavy weapons out of the area, but it won’t happen until the situation is quiet, Chalov said.
“We emphasize that our military will only fire in response,” Lysenko told reporters Monday.
The ceasefire aims to end 10 months of fighting in eastern Ukraine. But less than 90 minutes after it started, Ukrainian officials reported mortar shelling at a military post near Zolote in the Luhansk region.