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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Ukraine : le Kremlin appelle à respecter la trêve

by anonymous

Ukraine: Kremlin Calls For Truce to be Respected

Translated Friday 20 February 2015, by Gene Zbikowski

All of the measures in the cease-fire accord for the eastern Ukraine must be “unconditionally” respected, Russian president Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson stated on Feb. 15. Despite this, the fighting is continuing in Lugansk and Debaltseve.

The cease-fire, which came into force at midnight on Feb. 15, is generally respected in the eastern Ukraine, with a few exceptions such as the besieged city of Debaltseve and the separatist bastion of Luhansk, Ertuğrul Apakan, the chief monitor of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) special monitoring mission to Ukraine, stated on Feb. 15.

The separatists, who for weeks have been trying to take over Debaltseve, a road and rail hub half-way between Donetsk and Luhansk, prevented OSCE observers from reaching the place. The independentists feel that the cease-fire does not apply to Debaltseve because according to them, the city is an integral part of their territory.

Kiev deplores having been the target of a dozen artillery attacks in the Lugansk region and around the city of Debaltseve since midnight, and announces that “the situation is becoming stabilized.” However, the Ukrainian authorities pointed out that their soldiers had to repel rebel attacks near the village of Chornukhyne (five kilometers east of Debaltseve) and noted rebel movements near the port of Mariupol, the last big city in the rebel East still controlled by Kiev.

For his part, Edward Bassurin, a top military authority in the separatist Donetsk Republic, confirmed that the cease-fire was “generally respected.”

International vigilance

Russian president Vladimir Putin, his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko, French president François Hollande and German chancellor Angela Merkel are together to make a “first stock-taking” of the enforcement of the cease-fire, according to the office of the French president. However the Kremlin repeated that “all the terms [of the Minsk accord – editor’s note] must be respected unconditionally.”

Moreover Vladimir Putin reaffirmed his commitment to respect for the cease-fire in a telephone conversation with François Hollande and Angela Merkel. But Moscow has already accused Kiev and the West of “twisting the content of the Minsk accords.”

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