KIEV military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Anatoliy Stelmakh excused his side’s failure to pull back heavy weapons from the front line in eastern Ukraine yesterday, blaming continuing rebel attacks.
The Minsk peace agreement reached on February 12 obliges both sides to withdraw heavy weapons to create a buffer zone.
However Lt-Col Stelmakh said that there had been two rebel artillery attacks overnight and, while significantly fewer than in previous days, “as long as firing on Ukrainian military positions continues, it’s not possible to talk about a pullback.”
Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe spokesman Michael Bocuirkiw said that monitors had seen heavy weapons movements by both sides but could not tell whether weapons were being pulled back or simply redeployed.
Lt-Col Stelmakh said that anti-fascist resistance forces were still trying to overrun a government position in the village of Shyrokyne, on the outskirts of the strategic port city of Mariupol.