Pro-Russia separatists said on Tuesday they began withdrawing heavy weapons from the frontline in east Ukraine under a ceasefire deal, but the Ukrainian military, which says it won't pull back until fighting stops, reported further shelling.
KIEV/DONETSK, Ukraine Reuters - Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists have exchanged dozens of prisoners in east Ukraine, a Ukrainian Security Council aide confirmed on Sunday, a step toward implementing an internationally brokered peace deal.
MOSCOW Reuters - Pro-Russian separatists have started pulling back artillery from rebel-held areas of east Ukraine where fighting has ceased, Russian news agency Interfax cited the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic as saying on Wednesday.
Pro-Russian separatists cannot morally stop fighting for the town of Debaltseve in east Ukraine because it is internal territory and must respond to fire from Ukrainian troops, Denis Pushilin, a rebel representative, said on Tuesday.
After the coffins of four pro-Russian fighters killed hours before the Ukrainian ceasefire were lowered into the ground on Monday in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, their comrades fired Kalashnikov rifles into the icy air in a final salute.
Shelling stopped abruptly at midnight on Saturday in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk after President Petro Poroshenko ordered government forces to halt firing in line with a ceasefire agreement aimed at ending the country's bloody conflict.