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Ukraine Cease-Fire Said To Be Holding Despite Scattered Incidents

February 15, 2015

The cease-fire in Ukraine that came into effect during the night is generally holding, despite some reports of scattered shelling.

The main point of concern on February 15 was the area around the town of Debaltseve, where there has been heavy fighting in recent days. A commander for the pro-Russian separatists in the area told Reuters that his side does not believe the cease-fire applies to Debaltseve because 'it is our territory.'

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the cease-fire agreement that was signed in Minsk on February 12 is 'threatened' by the situation around Debaltseve.

He added that he would introduce martial law across the country if the cease-fire fails to take hold.

A Ukrainian government spokesman said Kyiv's forces had come under fire about 10 times since the midnight cease-fire but that all shelling was 'localized' and no service personnel have been killed.

A Ukrainian military spokesman said Kyiv has prepared storage areas for heavy weaponry that is due to be removed from the line of conflict between the government and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

A spokesman for the separatists likewise said they have begun 'to draft a plan on the withdrawal of heavy armaments and the exchange of prisoners.'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke by telephone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and emphasized 'the importance of full implementation' of the Minsk agreement.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Minsk agreement must be 'unconditionally observed' by all sides.

The UN Security Council is expected to discuss the situation in Ukraine on February 15.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, Interfax, and Dozhd TV

Source: holding-scattered-incidents/26850762.html

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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