Fragile Ukraine truce holds for third day
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.