The Ukrainian military reports that its soldiers were attacked up to 14 times over the last 24 hours, including shelling at a village near the port city of Mariupol. The attacks, which resulted in some counter-fire from the Ukrainian military, continue to undermine the ceasefire that's been officially in effect since Feb. 15.
"The militants [separatists] carried out isolated attacks on the positions of the Ukrainian armed forces,” said "Anti-Terrorist Operation" spokesman Anatoliy Stelmakh at a Kiev briefing on Friday. "For a long time the largest number of attacks were recorded in the area of Donetsk. Around 20:00 [8 p.m.] the militants fired with mortars and grenades on Avdiivka and the village of Pisky. At 01:50 [1:50 a.m.] the militants again hit Avdiivka, at 03:10 they attacked the village of Kamianka and at 04:10 they fired on the village of Khimik." The Ukrainian government considers the Russian-backed rebels to be terrorists.
While no casualties were recorded during the attacks, Ukrainian authorities say this provides more evidence that the ceasefire is not working.
"Despite the attempts of the militants to disrupt the peace agreements by the shelling, the Ukrainian armed forces do not respond to provocations and use their weapons only in cases of a direct threat to human life," said Stelmakh.
Since the ceasefire was signed on Feb. 12 and supposedly came into force three days later, there have been no days without attacks and only a few when military and civilian casualties have not been recorded. As yet, however, the international leaders that brokered the deal in Minsk have stopped short of calling it a total failure.
In accordance with the ceasefire, Ukrainian authorities, under the observation of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, have moved a majority of their heavy weapons back from the front lines. The OSCE has said that it has yet to confirm whether pro-Russian rebels have done the same, because access to certain rebel-held areas has been denied.