Ukraine's Poroshenko says rebels break ceasefire, one soldier killed

KIEV Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:39pm EDT

1 of 3. Ukrainian servicemen are pictured at the military camp near the town of Svyatogorsk in Eastern Ukraine, June 20, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Tuesday pro-Russian separatists in the east had violated a ceasefire with overnight attacks that killed one government soldier.

Rebels and Ukrainian forces have both vowed to observe a week-long ceasefire until June 27, but the government has reported rebels shooting at military checkpoints.

"Unfortunately there were violations of the ceasefire from the other side. Last night there were another eight cases, one soldier was killed, seven were wounded," the president's press service quoted Poroshenko as saying during a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Rebel militia, using grenade-launchers and mortar, attacked a military post near the rebel-held town of Slaviansk and used small arms in an assault on another post towards the border with Russia, Vladyslav Seleznyov, a spokesman for the Kiev government's "anti-terrorist" operation, said earlier.

He said Ukrainian government forces had not been involved in any military action, in line with the ceasefire announced by Poroshenko last Friday.

Separatist leaders in two main areas of Ukraine's east on Monday night agreed to a truce until the morning of June 27, raising the first real prospect of an end to hostilities since rebellions erupted in the east in April.

The rebels, who have declared "people's republics" and have said they want to join Russia, began their ceasefire after talks involving a former Ukrainian president, Moscow's envoy to Kiev and a high-ranking representative of the OSCE security and rights organisation.

Poroshenko's ceasefire is part of his peace plan to end a pro-Russia insurgency in areas near the border with Russia which threatens to dismember the ex-Soviet republic.

Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula earlier this year after street protests in Kiev ousted the Moscow-backed Viktor Yanukovich from power.

Poroshenko's plan, which offers a safety "corridor" back to Russia for pro-Russian fighters who lay down their arms, has secured the backing of Western governments and qualified support from Russian President Vladimir Putin who has urged Kiev to hold talks with the separatist leaders.

The next step in contacts between the two sides is not clear, though it seems likely the rebels may use the break in hostilities to press demands for federalisation of Ukraine - something which Kiev refuses because it sees it as likely to lead to the country breaking up.

(Additional reporting by Pavel Polityuk and Alessandra Prentice; Writing By Richard Balmforth; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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Comments (7)
one_some wrote:
not only they attack in the East, but Putin now sends saboteurs to blow up railway bridge today in Zaporizhya region of Ukraine, before that they blew up gas pipeline in other part of Ukraine.
Russian TV was there in minutes in both cases. How did they know?

Jun 24, 2014 6:00am EDT  --  Report as abuse
one_some wrote:
Putin is pretending to do everything for peace agreement (he just asked Russian parliament to revoke permission to use military in Ukraine) ONLY because Obama told him about sanctions.
But bloodshed in Eastern Ukraine will not stop. As Gergian Saakashvili said ceasefire will only be used by Putin to send more weapons. Georgia had 3 peace agreements with Russia, and that did make any difference.
If Obama believes Putin, he is stupid.
In reality Putin could stop bloodshed in Eastern Ukraine in 5 minutes as all weapons and main compatants and all instructors there are from Russia.
So only if all combatants and their weapons are out of Ukraine, then you can beleive Putin.
Putin did not do ANY REAL STEPS so far.
Instead Putin now sends saboteurs to blow up railway bridge today in Zaporizhya region of Ukraine, before that they blew up gas pipeline in other part of Ukraine.
Russian TV was there in minutes in both cases. How did they know if Russia is not involved?

Jun 24, 2014 6:34am EDT  --  Report as abuse
You’re dealing with paid mercenaries on the side of these so-called separatists that do not operate under a code of conduct or the Geneva Convention. How does anyone expect this ceasefire to last or to work?

Jun 24, 2014 6:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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