Shelling in Mariupol shatters truce

September 08, 2014 12:37 am | Updated November 16, 2021 06:58 pm IST - SPARTAK (UKRAINE):

A local man puts out the fire at his burning house after shelling in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine on Sunday.

A local man puts out the fire at his burning house after shelling in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine on Sunday.

Clashes broke out on Sunday outside the main rebel-held city in eastern Ukraine, throwing the freshly forged ceasefire agreement between government troops and Russian-backed separatists into further doubt.

At least two houses blazed in the rural village of Spartak, which lies just north of Donetsk and adjacent to the airport, after they were hit by fire. A man whose house was struck by a shell said rebels had fired from a spot nearby, which appeared to have provoked a retaliatory attack from Ukrainian government troops.

The truce signed on Friday appeared to be holding for much of the following day, but was shattered late on Saturday by shelling on the outskirts of the southeastern port town of Mariupol, where Ukrainian troops retain defensive lines against the rebels. The city council said Sunday that one civilian was killed there and a serviceman wounded.

Mariupol is located on the coast of the Sea of Azov, 115 km south of Donetsk. Rebels recently opened a new front on the coast, leading to fears that they were trying to secure a land corridor between Russia and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in March.

12-point agreement

Ukraine, Russia, the Kremlin-backed separatists and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) signed the ceasefire deal in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, on Friday evening in an effort to end the bloodshed. The negotiators agreed on the withdrawal of all heavy weaponry, the release of all prisoners and the delivery of humanitarian aid to devastated cities in eastern Ukraine.

The 12-point agreement, published on Sunday by the OSCE, also obliges Kiev to give greater powers to the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk regions and calls for local elections to be held in those Russian-speaking regions.

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