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Hopes for Minsk Deal Success Wane Amid Renewed Donbass Tensions – Kremlin

© AP Photo / Evgeniy MaloletkaA convoy of Ukrainian military
A convoy of Ukrainian military - Sputnik International
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the recent ceasefire violations in southeastern Ukraine raise doubts about the possibility of establishing long-lasting peace in the region.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The recent ceasefire violations in southeastern Ukraine (Donbass) raise doubts about the possibility of establishing long-lasting peace in the region, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday.

"There is after all less and less of this hope for the implementation of the Minsk [peace] plan," Peskov said, explaining that the fighting incidents between independence fighters and Kiev forces in Donbass are grave ceasefire violations that trigger "more and more concerns."

New clashes erupted in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday after Kiev troops launched an offensive against independence supporters of the self-proclaimed people’s republic of Donetsk (DPR). The fighting occurred in the town of Marinka just outside the city of Donetsk, along the contact line between the conflicting sides.

DPR leader Alexander Zakharchenko said that some 400 Kiev troops were killed and 60 pieces of equipment were destroyed in battles near Marinka, while DPR forces lost 15 soldiers, with 30 of its fighters having been injured in the clashes.

Members of the Ukrainian armed forces ride on an armoured personnel carrier as they patrol the area in the town of Maryinka, eastern Ukraine, June 5, 2015 - Sputnik International
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Ukrainian officials publicly acknowledged the use of heavy artillery by Kiev forces in the fighting, in violation of the Minsk ceasefire. The use of weaponry was also reported by the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), tasked with overseeing the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

The Minsk deal, reached after talks between the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, in February is the second truce in force in Donbass since the start of Kiev’s special military operation in the region in April, 2014.

The first ceasefire, introduced in September, 2014, failed to hold.

The Minsk-2 agreement stipulates that Donbass militia and Kiev forces halt all fighting, withdraw heavy weaponry from the line of contact and conduct an all-for-all prisoner exchange.

During the recent Marinka fighting, Kiev forces used some of the heavy weaponry that they had earlier withdrawn.

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