After the Minks negotiations that took place between the leaders of Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia, they all agreed upon a suspension of active hostilities that went into effect on Sunday Feb. 15 at midnight. Up until now, the cease-fire in Ukraine is holding except for Debaltseve, in the Eastern part of the country. The Debaltseve railway hub is a strategic zone as it is also close to the Mariupol port.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) which was given the responsibility to monitor the treaty reported that rebels did not give them access to observe Debaltseve. The organization also said the shooting continued in that town, one of the few regions where the truce was not yet enabled.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin describes this event as a “breach of the Minsk agreement.”
Senior rebel commander Eduard Basurin, however, explained that open fire is still active in that region as it is a part of their own territory:
“The territory is internal: ours. And internal is internal. But along the line of confrontation there is no shooting.”
Rebels consider that since they have fully surrounded Debaltseve, the region should be considered to belong to them. They are also accusing the Ukrainian administration of distributing artillery in the area, after the cease-fire had been enabled.
Both sides are blaming the enemy for the shooting but in Debaltserve, the conflicts haven’t stopped in weeks. It is yet uncertain whether the truce will have any results while troops remain in that region under the fire or if the rebels’ overture continues.
Due to dense fog in the area, the sound of gunning was muffled but still heard regularly on Sunday from Luhanske, a town situated 49 miles northeast of Debaltseve.
Journalists were denied permission to reach Luhanske by the Ukrainian army who made it very clear that it wasn’t safe to travel to that area.
Representatives for the government military operations in the east made a statement, describing Sunday as a “relatively calm” day. Representatives also said that “there has unfortunately not been a total cessation of fire, however”.
Image Source: Kyiv Post