France, Germany demand full respect for Ukraine truce
Iran Press TV
Fri Feb 20, 2015 5:30PM
German and French leaders have called on warring sides in Ukraine to honor the truce deal amid firefight between pro-Russian forces and Kiev government forces in the eastern town of Debaltseve.
In a joint press conference on Friday in Paris, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded that the crumbling truce in Ukraine be "fully respected."
"The ceasefire has been violated several times," Hollande said, adding, 'It must now be fully respected along the entire frontline."
The Ukrainian military claimed on Friday that two villages in the restive Donetsk region in east Ukraine have come under attack 50 times by pro-Moscow forces.
"We don't have any illusions' about how difficult it would be to get the ceasefire to take hold,' Merkel said, adding that she is 'even more convinced' that the only solution is a truce that could lead to a negotiated peace.
Also on Friday, pro-Russian forces were taking victorious photos in Debaltseve, a strategic transport hub they took over this week, regardless of an armistice.
Earlier this week, Ukrainian forces withdrew from Debaltseve following fierce clashes with pro-Russian forces. The town connects Donetsk and Lugansk, the strongholds of the pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine.
The two mainly Russian-speaking regions Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russians and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations against the pro-Russians in April 2014.
Violence intensified a month later after the two flashpoint regions held local referendums in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.
Nearly 5,700 people have been killed and close to a million have been displaced since the armed conflict began in eastern Ukraine in April 2014.
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