04:37 GMT +325 March 2018
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    Donetsk after shelling

    DPR Says Ceasefire Observed in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region Early on Saturday

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    The Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in Ukraine’s southeast is reporting on adherence to a new ceasefire starting from Saturday, a ministry representative told Sputnik.

    DONETSK (Sputnik) – Earlier this week, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered the Kiev forces to start observing a ceasefire in the country’s southeast (Donbass) starting from April.

    The presidential order was issued after a Trilateral Contact Group meeting in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, where an agreement was reached for a new cessation of hostilities to come into force in Donbass beginning midnight, April 1.

    "We are observing a cessation of hostilities starting from 00:00 [on Saturday]. We are adhering to the ceasefire. But prior to that, the [Kiev] forces had continued to shell a residential area of one of the settlements in the south of the republic. There are damages to a school building," the spokesperson said.

    The ceasefire must hold for the duration of Easter holidays, according to Russian envoy to the Contact Group on Ukraine Boris Gryzlov.

    The situation in Ukraine’s southeast escalated in January, when Ukrainian forces and the militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) intensified fighting. Both sides have blamed each other for the escalation.

    Kiev launched a special military operation in Ukraine’s southeast in April 2014, after local residents refused to recognize the new Ukrainian authorities, which came to power as a result of a coup.

    In February 2015, a peace agreement was signed between Ukraine’s conflicting sides in Minsk after talks brokered by the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine — the so-called Normandy Format. Despite the ceasefire deal, sporadic fighting has continued in Donbass.

    The Contact Group holds regular meetings in Minsk, aimed at facilitating a diplomatic resolution of the armed conflict in Ukraine’s southeast.


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