• Friday, December 19, 2014

Freedom in the air

Both sides agree Ukraine ceasefire

BBC Online
Ukrainian government forces are manning checkpoints in Mariupol - as rebel shelling was heard in surrounding areas
Ukrainian government forces are manning checkpoints in Mariupol - as rebel shelling was heard in surrounding areas

The Ukrainian government and pro-Russia rebels have signed a truce deal to end almost five months of fighting.

The two sides, meeting in the Belarusian capital Minsk, agreed to stop firing at 15:00 GMT.

President Petro Poroshenko said he would do "everything possible" to end the bloodshed. The rebels said the truce had not changed their policy of advocating separation from Ukraine.

 

 

More than 2,600 people have died since rebels stormed several eastern cities.

The move prompted a military operation by Ukrainian forces to retake the cities.

The rebels, who had largely been pushed back towards their strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk, made new advances in recent days.

French President Francois Hollande, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi meet to discus Ukraine at the NATO summit at the Celtic Manor resort, near Newport, in Wales September 4, 2014. Photo: Reuters
French President Francois Hollande, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi meet to discus Ukraine at the NATO summit at the Celtic Manor resort, near Newport, in Wales September 4, 2014. Photo: Reuters

Fighting was continuing on Friday around Mariupol, a coastal city about 110km (70 miles) south of Donetsk.

The BBC's Fergal Keane in Mariupol tweeted that pro-Russia forces seemed to be hitting Ukrainian positions 4km outside the city.

Large plumes of smoke could be seen as Ukrainian artillery fired back, he says. Ukrainian fighter jets also hit rebel positions.

The West accuses Russia of sending arms and troops to back the rebels in eastern Ukraine - allegations denied by Russia.

Published: 12:00 am Friday, September 05, 2014

Last modified: 11:47 pm Friday, September 05, 2014

TAGS: US EU Russia Ceasefire Ukraine crisis sanction

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