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Iran Press TV

Ukraine army, pro-Russians both report truce violations

Iran Press TV

Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:22PM

The Kiev government and pro-Russia forces have reported violations of a ceasefire agreement that started at midnight on Wednesday.

Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksander Motuzyanik said on Thursday that three soldiers had been wounded in attacks by the pro-Russia forces.

This is while the pro-Russians accused the other side of breaking the cessation of hostilities first by firing mortars into Ukrain'e eastern regions.

"After ceasefire came into force starting 6 a.m. the Ukrainian side continued shelling the town of Yasinovata from their positions near the town of Avdiyevka," said the pro-Russia forces commander, Eduard Basurin.

"This demonstrates unwillingness of the current Ukrainian military and political leadership to join the current truce," he added.

The fresh truce was agreed after German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in the country's capital, Kiev, on Wednesday.

The two top diplomats also visited Kramatorsk, a city controlled by the Ukrainian army in the east of the country.

Steinmeier said after his meeting with Poroshenko that both pro-Russians and Kiev had agreed to observe the truce.

Ayrault, too, said that the truce could pave the way for more moves aimed at peace next week. He said he expected that both sides would agree to pull out their troops from the lines of conflict in three hotspots in the coming week.

A ceasefire was implemented on September 1 to coincide with the start of the school year, but it failed to stop all fighting.

EU extends Russia bans over Ukraine

Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) said in a statement on Thursday that it had extended by six months sanctions against Moscow over its alleged involvement in the conflict in Ukraine and the rejoining of the Crimea Peninsula to Russia.

"These sanctions consist of an asset freeze and a travel ban against 146 persons and 37 entities. They have been extended until 15 March 2017," it added.

The asset freezes and travel bans against dozens of individuals are in addition to economic sanctions against Russia's defense, financial and energy sectors.

Russian Deputy Premier Dmitry Rogozin, Arkady Bakhin and Anatoly Antonov, the defense and deputy defense ministers, are the highest-profile targets of the sanctions.

The United States and the EU imposed a series of sanctions on Russia in the summer of 2014 for allegations that Moscow is arming and supporting pro-Russia forces fighting in eastern Ukraine.

They keep accusing Moscow of destabilizing Ukraine since Crimea decided to rejoin Russia in a referendum in March 2014.

Moscow, however, has strongly dismissed the accusations and rejects having a hand in the crisis gripping the country.

Some members of the union have criticized the rollover of the sanctions as the bloc itself has been suffering from Russia's retaliatory measures, which ban imports of food products from certain EU states.

On Thursday, the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report on the conflict in Ukraine.

According to the report, 9,640 people have lost their lives and over 22,430 others sustained injuries since the conflict began in mid-April 2014.

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