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Donetsk suburb comes under shelling by Ukrainian troops -- local administration

The settlement of Staromikhailovka outside Donetsk has come under intense shelling by Ukrainian troops, head of the local administration Petro Lisnyak said on Monday.

"About half an hour ago, our settlement came under shelling by Ukrainian troops. Shells hit one of the settlement's central streets. One house was destroyed. The type of weapons used by Ukrainian troops and information about casualties are being verified," the Donetsk News Agency quoted him as saying.

A spokesman for the defense ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) said earlier on Monday the Ukrainian army had fired an overall of 663 mine, artillery and tank shells at the DPR territory over the past day.

A peace deal struck on February 12 in Minsk, Belarus, by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and people's militias starting from February 15, followed by withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of military engagement and prisoner release. The package of measures envisages the pullback of all heavy weapons by both parties to locations equidistant from the disengagement line in order to create a security zone at least 50 kilometers wide for artillery systems with a calibre of 100 mm or more, a zone of security 70 kilometers wide for multiple rocket launchers and a zone 140 kilometres wide for multiple rocket launchers Tornado-S, Uragan and Smerch and the tactical rocket systems Tochka-U. The final document says that the Ukrainian troops are to be pulled back away from the current line of engagement and the militias of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, from the engagement line set by the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014.

The ceasefire however has been repeatedly violated.

On July 18, the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics (DPR and LPR) announced their plans to unilaterally withdraw heavy weaponry from the engagement line. By late July, said it had completed the withdrawal of weaponry of less than 100mm caliber from the contact line, leaving tanks only in "hot spots" to the north of Donetsk and in Debaltsevo. LPR also completed the withdrawal of weaponry from the contact line, leaving tanks and armored vehicles only on positions near the Schastye settlement.

On July 21, the Contact Group on Ukrainian settlement reached an agreement on phased withdrawal of weaponry of less than 100mm caliber by both sides. No final agreement however has been signed as of yet.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 10Aug15]

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Ukraine Unrest
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