Ukraine Liveblog Day 216: Ceasefire Violations Threaten Minsk Peace Plan

September 21, 2014
Smoke rises over Donetsk after explosions rock the city on September 20, 2014 | via @onlinekpru

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Ceasefire Violations Threaten Buffer Zone Agreement

As we reported in yesterday’s liveblog, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the separatist leaders drafted an agreement yesterday that would lead to the creation of a buffer zone between Russian-backed-separatist and government forces, thus facilitating a more complete ceasefire. We also reported that the violence continued in Donetsk despite that agreement (see yesterday’s liveblog for details).

Today, Ukraine’s government is warning that the Russian-backed separatists and Russian forces have continued to break the ceasefire in Donetsk as well as other positions. This fact, Ukraine says, is jeopardizing the entire peace plan. Reuters reports:

Military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said the pro-Russian separatists and Russian troops were continuing to target the positions of government forces.

“In the last 24 hours we have lost two Ukrainian soldiers, eight have been wounded,” he told reporters on Sunday.

Asked about the buffer zone, he said: “One of the main points of the agreement is the ceasefire, then other points follow.

“At the moment the first point has not been fulfilled so we are not talking about the other points. If there is to be a withdrawal of forces then it should be synchronized together with the withdrawal of Russian forces,” he said.

Today we are tracking more reports of fighting in Mariupol and Donetsk, though so far the fighting in Mariupol seems to be the most extensive.

This report from Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, posted earlier this morning.