Ukraine truce: No Ukrainian troops killed in east as ceasefire holds

Rebels have insisted the ceasefire does not apply to their main target, the town of Debaltseve, which they stormed last week

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The Independent Online

A long-awaited truce took hold in eastern Ukraine yesterday, with the army reporting no combat fatalities for the first time in several weeks.

The Ukrainian military said the last 24 hours were its first where no troops had been killed since long before the truce, meant to take effect on 15 February, was announced. Only one soldier was wounded.

In rebel-held eastern Ukraine, heavy guns were withdrawn from the front. Kiev said it was too early to do likewise, but its acknowledgement that most of the front was quiet suggested it too could implement the truce, which failed when rebels launched a major offensive last week. News that no Ukrainian troops had died was the strongest signal yet that the Europe-brokered truce is holding.

The rebels had insisted the ceasefire did not apply to their main target, the town of Debaltseve, which they stormed last week. Kiev says the separatists are reinforcing for a further assault deeper into territory the Kremlin calls “New Russia”.

Reuters

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