A Ukrainian serviceman fires a grenade launcher during fighting with pro-Russia forces in Avdiivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine, on March 30, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
The Russian Foreign Ministry says Ukrainian forces have violated a recent ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine, where the Kiev government is fighting pro-Russia forces.
The ministry announced on Wednesday that the Ukrainian military and law enforcement agencies were violating “the school ceasefire” in the Donbass region, where the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk are located.
Russia 24 television news channel said that its offices had come under fire by Ukrainian armed forces in the volatile region, but the assault had left no casualties.
“Our crew has come under fire in Donbass, where ceasefire should be operating since last Friday,” the Russian TV channel said. “The fire was launched from the Ukrainian positions.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed hope that all existing mechanisms under the ceasefire deal would be used to exercise restraint.
On August 24, pro-Russia forces agreed with Ukraine’s military on a ceasefire ahead of the start of the new school year in the region at a meeting of the Contact Group, comprising the representatives of Ukraine, Russia, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The OSCE, which is tasked with handling peace talks and monitoring the situation in eastern Ukraine, welcomed the ceasefire deal and called it “an encouraging joint, political signal from all signatories” to the peace plan.
This photo, taken on December 1, 2014, shows destroyed buildings through the window of a flat that was shelled during the night in the Telstilshik district of the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. (By AFP)
The German and French leaders have also called on Russia and Ukraine to help protect the truce, despite reported accusations of violations on both sides.
    Macron has ‘major differences’ with Putin
    Meanwhile, in a Wednesday interview with French weekly Le Point, French President Emmanuel Macron said he had “major differences” with Putin on Ukraine.
    “I speak with everybody. Very directly and very frankly,” he said. “On Ukraine, we have major differences with Vladimir Putin. I take note of it. France won’t let him get away with anything.”
    Conflict erupted in eastern Ukraine after people in the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea voted for unification with Russia in March 2014. The West brands the unification as annexation of the territory by Russia. The US and its allies in Europe also accuse Russia of having a major hand in the crisis in eastern Ukraine, an allegation denied by Moscow.
    The crisis has left over 10,000 people dead and more than a million others displaced, according to the United Nations.
    The warring sides have previously signed two major truce deals, but fighting has never fully subsided.

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