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Ukraine reports further ceasefire violations

New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) The Ukrainian defence ministry has reported further ceasefire violations in the east, after a day of heavy weapons fire Saturday, CNN reported.

The ministry said that in the first 11 hours of Sunday, “20 incidents of ceasefire violation by the Russian occupation forces were observed, including 18 incidents when the Russian occupation forces utilised weapons prohibited by the Minsk Agreements”.

The Minsk II agreement led to a shaky ceasefire between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed separatist forces, and bans heavy weapons near the line of contact between the two sides.

Ukraine said it recorded a total of 136 ceasefire violations on Saturday, the report said.

The Ukrainian Border Guards said that because of the shelling, one crossing point for international humanitarian organisations, Shchastia, at the Line of Contact, had been closed since 8 a.m. local time Sunday. An UNHCR convoy that used the crossing point on Friday said that it had been caught in crossfire.

Some residents of Donetsk — which is controlled by pro-Russian separatists — reported heavy shelling early Sunday. One woman contacted by CNN said she and her children wanted to move closer to the city centre because of shelling in her district, Abakumova.

It’s unclear where the shelling originated. The authorities in the breakaway republics persistently claim shelling by Ukrainian forces, who in turn regularly deny firing artillery across the front lines.

The Russian authorities say that more than 40,000 people have arrived in Russia after being evacuated from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, according to the acting head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, Alexander Chupriyan, CNN reported.

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