Ukraine truce: Government, rebels to free all captives
Donetsk/Kiev, Sep 6 (IANS/ITAR -TASS) The militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine will release all the captured Ukrainian soldiers Saturday and Kiev’s authorities have pledged to release all captives Monday, a media report said Saturday.
“Despite ceasefire violations by the Ukrainian military, the militia will release Ukrainian captives. It will happen already today, and the transfer of prisoners of war from the side of Kiev will be carried out on Monday,” the Novorossia news agency quoted Dontesk People’s Republic’s prime minister Alexander Zakharchenko as saying.
Meanwhile Ukrainian forces in the east of the country were observing the ceasefire that came into effect Friday, Andrei Lysenko, a spokesman of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council, said Saturday in Kiev.
The truce between the Ukraine government and pro-Russian rebels came into effect Friday evening after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered government forces to stop military action against the independence-seeking insurgents in the country’s eastern region.
The agreement was signed Friday in Belarus capital Minsk. Former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, OSCE representative in Ukraine Heidi Tagliavini and representatives from the self-proclaimed republics of Lugansk and Donetsk participated in the Minsk talks.
Lysenko said Saturday all the units of the Ukrainian forces have strictly obeyed the supreme commander’s order and observed the ceasefire since 6 p.m. Friday, he said.
The situation on the whole became calmer in the zone of the Kiev military operation after the ceasefire was declared, but some provocations from the militia side were reported overnight, he said.
The official said fire was opened on positions of Ukrainian troops 10 times after 7 p.m. Friday but nobody was hurt.
Meanwhile, sources in Donetsk said Ukrainian forces did not observe the ceasefire, continuing to shell Donetsk and positions of the Donetsk Republic’s militia near Mariupol.
“None of truce agreements concluded with Poroshenko has been observed. Ukrainian forces continued artillery strikes on Donetsk and its suburbs and did not stop firing in Mariupol,” co-chairman of the People’s Front of Novorossia political movement, Konstantin Dolgov, told ITAR-TASS Saturday.
The defence ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic also reported Saturday that Gorlovka was under mortar fire overnight. A coalmine was shelled in Makeyevka at about midnight.
Fire was opened on the town of Yasinovataya, and Ukrainian troops also fired from armoured vehicles at Donetsk airport.
“Now it is relatively calm in the city,” a defence ministry source said.