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DPR Says Ceasefire Observed in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region Early on Saturday

© Sputnik / Irina Gerashchenko / Go to the mediabankDonetsk after shelling
Donetsk after shelling - Sputnik International
The Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in Ukraine’s southeast is reporting on adherence to a new ceasefire starting from Saturday, a ministry representative told Sputnik.

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DONETSK (Sputnik) – Earlier this week, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered the Kiev forces to start observing a ceasefire in the country’s southeast (Donbass) starting from April.

The presidential order was issued after a Trilateral Contact Group meeting in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, where an agreement was reached for a new cessation of hostilities to come into force in Donbass beginning midnight, April 1.

"We are observing a cessation of hostilities starting from 00:00 [on Saturday]. We are adhering to the ceasefire. But prior to that, the [Kiev] forces had continued to shell a residential area of one of the settlements in the south of the republic. There are damages to a school building," the spokesperson said.

The ceasefire must hold for the duration of Easter holidays, according to Russian envoy to the Contact Group on Ukraine Boris Gryzlov.

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The situation in Ukraine’s southeast escalated in January, when Ukrainian forces and the militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) intensified fighting. Both sides have blamed each other for the escalation.

Kiev launched a special military operation in Ukraine’s southeast in April 2014, after local residents refused to recognize the new Ukrainian authorities, which came to power as a result of a coup.

In February 2015, a peace agreement was signed between Ukraine’s conflicting sides in Minsk after talks brokered by the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine — the so-called Normandy Format. Despite the ceasefire deal, sporadic fighting has continued in Donbass.

The Contact Group holds regular meetings in Minsk, aimed at facilitating a diplomatic resolution of the armed conflict in Ukraine’s southeast.

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