Frag­ile Ukraine truce holds for third day

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

KIEV: A new in­def­i­nite truce in Ukraine held by a thread for a third day yes­ter­day as both pro-Rus­sian in­sur­gents and Kiev re­ported clashes near a prized rail­road hub but no deaths.

Ukraine and Rus­sia-two ex-Soviet neigh­bours that are now sworn foes-agreed to the armistice Wed­nes­day with the help of me­di­a­tion from the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Se­cu­rity and Co-op­er­a­tion in Europe (OSCE). The rebels signed on to the ceasefire Fri­day af­ter some de­lib­er­a­tion. Yet mor­tar and ar­tillery fire has con­tin­ued un­abated with­out claim­ing any lives.

“Our po­si­tions came un­der at­tack 33 times since early Sun­day,” the Ukra­nian mil­i­tary said in a state­ment. The in­sur­gents’ web­site said their side had come un­der fire from Ukrainian grenade launch­ers 62 times in the past day. Such weapons have been banned by a Fe­bru­ary 2015 peace agree­ment that both sides have long ig­nored. Kiev and its Western al­lies view the eastern sep­a­ratists as Rus­sian prox­ies who have been fight­ing for 31 months to desta­bilise the Ukrainian gov­ern­ment and keep it de­pen­dent on the Krem­lin’s whims.

Moscow de­nies in­ter­fer­ing in the con­flict but in­ter­na­tional mon­i­tors have seen tanks and other heavy mil­i­tary equip­ment en­ter the Ukrainian war zone from Rus­sia through­out the war.

March 2014 saw Rus­sia an­nex Ukraine’s Crimea penin­sula in ap­par­ent re­tal­i­a­tion for Kiev’s ouster of the Moscow-backed pres­i­dent the pre­ced­ing month. The lat­est truce came shortly af­ter a week-long bat­tle for con­trol of po­si­tions near De­balt­seve-a rail­way hub that links the pro-Rus­sian re­gions of Lu­gasnk and Donetsk. De­tails are dis­puted but Kiev ap­pears to have won back con­trol of most re­gions around the town af­ter an ini­tial rebel as­sault.


PARIS: French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande (sec­ond left) lis­tens to Vin­cent Bronze (left), the Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of French el­e­va­tors com­pany ETNA France, next to French Labour Min­is­ter Myr­iam El Khomri(fourth left) and mayor of Tav­erny Florence Portelli (cen­ter) dur­ing his visit of the com­pany yes­ter­day in Tav­erny, near Paris.

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