Ukraine 'quiter' after ceasefire
Fighting dropped sharply across eastern Ukraine yesterday but there was still sporadic shooting after a ceasefire came into force, the first step in a fragile peace plan aimed at ending 10 months of conflict.
An elderly man and woman died after a Grad missile fire hit the town of Popasna in the Lugansk region some 20 minutes after the truce began at midnight, pro-Kiev local governor Gennadiy Moskal said.
The firing allegedly came from an area which Kiev says is under the command of a renegade group of Cossack fighters who insist they will not obey rebel leaders' commands to lay down their guns.
Elsewhere across conflict zone, Ukraine's military said its forces had come under fire 10 times but that shooting had tailed off since 3:00am.
Both govermenr and rebel sources said the ceasefire is being "generally respected".
The latest deal between Ukraine and the rebels, hammered out Thursday after marathon talks involving the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France, is seen as the best hope to stop fighting that has killed over 5,480 people since April.
But trust is low on all sides and scepticism remains high after the collapse of previous ceasefires.
Washington and Kiev accused Moscow of fuelling the last-gasp fighting Saturday by pouring arms across the border to help rebels grab territory. Moscow denied the claims.
US President Barack Obama has warned that he could start supplying arms to Ukraine if the truce collapses, something Europe is desperate to avoid.
The UN Security Council is expected to meet in emergency session Sunday to shore up the Ukraine peace deal.