Four Ukrainian troops have been killed and 29 more have been injured in shelling that continued in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region, despite the ongoing cease-fire agreed upon by Ukraine and pro-Moscow rebels, Associated Press reported Tuesday.
The cease-fire was signed Friday in Minsk, but reports on Saturday cited the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic as saying that Ukrainian forces had already broken the ceasefire and had shelled the region through Friday night. While the United Nations said Monday that more than 3,000 people have been killed since the conflict began several months ago in the region, Ukraine and Russia have said that they look forward to seeing the cease-fire being implemented.
"We hope the ceasefire regime will be consolidated in the coming days,” Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister, said Tuesday, according to Itar-Tass, adding: "These agreements [the Minsk protocol] are framework to a large extent. These agreements will be specified, and this work is already beginning. The sequence that is mentioned in the protocol will be spelled out."
Both Ukraine and pro-Russia separatists have blamed each other for the attacks during the cease-fire while Western nations have long accused Russia of fomenting unrest in the region. The European Union, which approved fresh sanctions against Russia on Monday for its involvement in Ukraine, delayed implementing it, stating that it would like to assess the cease-fire first.
"A package of further restrictive measures against Russia has been adopted by the Council today (through written procedure), deepening the targeted measures of 31 July," Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council said, in a statement Monday, according to Agence France-Presse, or AFP, adding: "Depending on the situation on the ground, the EU stands ready to review the agreed sanctions in whole or in part."
“This will leave time for an assessment of the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the peace plan," Rompuy added, according to AFP.