Ukraine ‘will not withdraw heavy artillery from the front line’

The decision by Kiev comes after two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 10 wounded over a 24 hour period on Sunday and Monday

A woman walks between heavily armed Russia-backed separatists in Debaltseve, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015. After many weeks of relentless fighting, the embattled Ukrainian rail hub of Debaltseve fell last week to Russia-backed separatists.

A woman walks between heavily armed Russia-backed separatists in Debaltseve, Ukraine Photo: AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda

Ukraine will not withdraw heavy artillery from the front line as required under a peace agreement because of continued fighting, officials said on Monday.

The decision to keep artillery in the area puts further pressure on a tentative peace agreement signed in Minsk on February 12.

“Given that the positions of Ukrainian servicemen continue to be shelled, there cannot yet be any talk of pulling back weapons,” said Vladislav Seleznyov, a Ukrainian military spokesman, at a televised briefing.

Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 10 wounded over a 24 hour period on Sunday and Monday, the Ukrainian military said, as fighting continued in the east of the country despite a nominal ceasefire that came into force over a week ago.

Violence has tailed off in eastern Ukraine since Russian-backed separatists completed an assault to seize the strategic rail hub of Debaltseve last Wednesday, but fighting continues in key flash points including the village of Shirokino near Mariupol and on the outskirts of Donetsk.

Separatist spokesmen said on Sunday that they would withdraw their artillery in line with the agreement, raising hopes that Russian-backed forces are prepared to honour the ceasefire more fully after completing their victory.

Germany, which along with France brokered the Minsk peace agreement, voiced concern about the failure to end the fighting, calling on Moscow to “urgently bring to bear its influence on the separatists” to honour the truce.

“It fills us with concern that there is still no comprehensive truce,” said Steffen Seibert, German government spokesman

Ukraine’s national currency, the Hryvnia, slid 10 per cent on Monday to a record low of 30.1 per cent against the dollar on the back of fears that a peace plan signed in Minsk on February 12 may collapse.

The slide prompted Ukraine’s central bank to announce tighter currency controls on importers and a ban on banks lending hryvnia to companies for the purpose of purchasing foreign currency.

The Hryvnia has lost 67 per cent of its value against the dollar in the past 12 months, making it the world’s worst performing currency and slashing ordinary Ukrainians’ purchasing power.

Ukraine’s currency against the dollar in the last three months

read more: 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/ukraine/11430060/Ukraine-will-not-withdraw-heavy-artillery-from-the-front-line.html

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s