Ukraine Day 941: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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Just as we reported yesterday that the last vestiges of the ceasefire declared on September 1 had disappeared, officials on both sides of the war in Ukraine announced yet another ceasefire would come into effect at midnight.
Foreign ministers visit eastern Ukraine as fresh ceasefire begins
SLOVIANSK, Ukraine Foreign ministers from Germany, France and Ukraine visited eastern Ukraine on Thursday, hours after Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces agreed to a ceasefire in a conflict that has killed over 9,600 since spring 2014.
Such enthusiasm for a ceasefire deal only 14 days after the last one came into effect and swiftly passed into obsolescence seems hard to justify.
Indeed, as a demonstration of the good faith towards such an agreement, the hours preceding midnight saw spectacularly intense shelling in the Donetsk area.
Ukraine’s Channel 5 recorded some of last night’s attacks on government-controlled Avdeyevka, north of Donetsk:
Donetsk news site 62.ua described the night as “hellish,” reporting that heavy artillery, accompanied by small arms, could be heard throughout the city, with the heaviest exchanges of fire taking place between Avdeyevka and the separatist-held suburb of Makeyevka.
Donbass.ua compiled social media reports from residents, describing heavy shelling from self-propelled artillery in Makeyevka and Donetsk city itself.
Residents also reported incoming fire striking separatist-held Yasinovataya and Makeyevka.
The separatist-controlled administration in Makeyevka claims that 33 houses and nine multi-storey apartment blocks were damaged by Ukrainian shelling.
The Ukrainian military claimed this morning that Russian-backed forces had conducted 50 attacks in the 24 hours preceding the new ceasefire.
At a press briefing in Kiev today, military spokesman Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk told reporters the total number of mortar and artillery shells fired yesterday by Russian-backed forces was, ominously enough, 666.
One Ukrainian soldier was wounded by shelling in Avdeyevka, with another two suffering injuries after a tripwire mine exploded near Stanitsa Luganskaya, in the east of the conflict zone.
Meanwhile Eduard Basurin, deputy commander of the armed forces of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), claimed that Ukrainian troops had fired 518 rounds on separatist-held territory over the same period.
So how is the latest ceasefire holding up so far?
At 9:52 Kiev time (6:52 GMT), Ukrainian military spokesman Ivan Arefyev told Russia’s Interfax news agency that Russian-backed forces had conducted four attacks since midnight.
“Since 00:00 we have recorded four attacks. In the Donetsk area all of the incidents were in Avdeyevka, where the enemy used small arms, while in Novoaleksandrovka [in the Lugansk region], they used machine guns and grenade launchers.”