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People's Daily Online

Heavy weaponry withdrawal locked in stalemate in eastern Ukraine

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:34, February 24, 2015

KIEV, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Both the Ukrainian government and the pro-independence insurgents failed to start a withdrawal of their heavy weapons from the front line in eastern Ukraine as agreed, official reports showed Monday.

Ukrainian military spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov said that Kiev could not start the withdrawal, citing the positions of the government troops suffering 'continued attacks.'

'As the positions of Ukrainian servicemen continue to be shelled, it is impossible to talk of pulling back the weapons,' Seleznyov told reporters during a media briefing. He noted that the Ukrainian forces are ready to start the pullout once the complete ceasefire is established in eastern part of the country.

According to the press-service of the government's military operation in east, the relative calm was restored in most cities and towns across the conflict-hit region, but the rebels carried out several attacks on Ukrainian forces near Shyrokyno village in the direction of Mariupol.

A senior rebel commander Eduard Basurin confirmed that the fighting was still progressing near Shyrokyno, claiming that Ukrainian soldiers from different battalions 'shelled each other positions' near the restive village.

Over the past 24 hours, two government troops were killed and ten others wounded in eastern Ukraine violence, said Valentyn Fedichev, the deputy commander of the government's military operation against rebels.

French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel,Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin reached an agreement on Feb. 12 after 16 hours of talks in Minsk, capital of Belarus, including a ceasefire from Feb. 15, clear timelines for elections in eastern Ukraine, border control and prisoner exchange.

According to the latest United Nations estimates, more than 5, 600 people have been killed in fighting in Ukraine's eastern regions since April 2014.

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