Ukraine condemns new ceasefire violations by rebels

Kiev : Ukrainian authorities condemned alleged new ceasefire violations Monday by pro-Russian separatist militias in eastern Ukraine, as both sides withdrew their heavy weapons and artillery from the front-line combat zone.

The press office of the Anti-Terrorism Operation, as Kiev calls the military drive against the separatist militia in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, accused the rebels of bombing Ukrainian troop positions located close to civilian residential areas.

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The authorities added that the government forces opened fire “to defend themselves and kill the criminals, using extremely accurate high power weapons”.

The reports came as the Ukrainian government and the separatists strengthened their current ceasefire agreement by agreeing Monday for both sides to withdraw their heavy artillery pieces from a zone 30 km wide around the line that divides their current positions.

The signing of the ceasefire agreement took place in Belarusian capital, Minsk. Since the original ceasefire agreement was signed Sep 5, Ukraine has regained some of its lost territory, according to remarks made Sunday by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

It is expected that zones controlled by the separatists, amounting to about one-third the area of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, will be granted special legal status allowing them to establish their own police forces, judicial entities and enter into economic relations with Russia.