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Pro-Russia rebels violate truce near Ukraine’s port city

Pro-Russian forces massing near Ukraine’s port city of Mariupol are continuing to attack government troop positions, Kiev said on Monday, fuelling concerns for the fate of an internationally brokered ceasefire.

Tensions were also high following a bomb blast yesterday in the normally peaceful eastern city of Kharkiv. In their latest toll, authorities said that three people had died in the “terrorist” attack.

The West has warned of additional sanctions on Russia if the shaky truce should deteriorate further, especially after rebels last week took the strategic town of Debaltseve in defiance of the ceasefire meant to start February 15.

A withdrawal of heavy weapons from the frontline a key step of the truce has still not gone ahead despite both sides on Sunday agreeing to start the process. “As Ukrainian positions are still being fired upon there can be no talk yet of a withdrawal of arms,” military spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov wrote in a statement on Facebook on Monday.

The rebels, meanwhile, have sent mixed messages, alternately saying that they have pulled back some weapons or that they will start on Tuesday.
Agencies

Agencies

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