Ukraine crisis: Ceasefire between Government forces and rebels extended over weekend
The army could break it early if the insurgents renege on the deal
Saturday 28 June 2014
The fragile ceasefire between Government forces and pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine has been extended until Monday evening.
The President, Petro Poroshenko, announced the change on his website after signing a landmark free trade deal at a European Union summit – the very agreement that triggered the protests against former President Viktor Yanukovych.
The ceasefire was due to end on Friday night but will now last until 10pm on Monday.
Battles intensified in May after the newly-elected President vowed to crush the "terrorist" rebellion and civilians were among the casualties in the army's assault on rebel-held areas on Donetsk.
A statement from Mr Poroshenko’s office said the extension was in line with a deadline set by EU leaders for separatists to agree to ceasefire arrangements, return border checkpoints to Government authorities and free hostages including detained international observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
Petro Poroshenko extended the ceasefire At a separate meeting, Mr Poroshenko and national security chiefs said they wanted recruitment centres for insurgency fighters across the border in Russia should be closed for the next three days.
Movements of rebel forces around the east and the setting up of rebel checkpoints and barricades should also stop, they said.
The announcement threatened that Government forces could end the ceasefire early if the conditions were not observed.
Both sides have already been accused of violating the peace but the Ukrainian Defence Minister, Mykhailo Koval, was quoted by the Interfax news agency on Saturday saying the situation in the east was largely quiet.
Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, has acknowledged that his government has some leverage with the rebels but denied supporting their insurgency.
“There are reasons to believe that they hear us on other aspects of Russian position regarding the crisis in Ukraine, but that doesn't mean that they immediately move to heed our calls,” he said.
Four observers from the OSCE have been released from weeks of captivity but four more are still being held.
A rebel leader promised to free them in the next few days on Friday.
Alexander Borodai promised to abide by the extended ceasefire but rejected the EU leaders' demand to retreat from three checkpoints on the border with Russia.
Additional reporting by Reuters and AP
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
Antonio Martin shooting: Black teenager may have tried to ambush patrolman, says police officer's lawyer
Orphan kangaroos spend Christmas without their parents
Northern Lights above Britain: Stunning Aurora Borealis illuminates Northumberland sky on Christmas Eve
New route to Mars could make manned mission much cheaper and easier
Isis 'did not shoot down Jordan war plane' before capturing pilot, says US
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader
£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...
£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...
Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...