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Ukraine fighting rages ahead of ceasefire deal

Ukraine fighting rages ahead of ceasefire deal
Kiev-loyal regional police chief Vyacheslav Abroskin said constant artillery bombardments were razing the strategic railway hub of Debaltseve, where Ukrainian forces were clinging on.

“The rebels are destroying the town of Debaltseve. There are non-stop artillery bombardments of residential areas and buildings. The town is in flames,” Abroskin wrote on Facebook. Ukraine's Azov volunteer battalion also reported fierce clashes just to the east of the vital government-held port city of Mariupol and said the village of Shyrokyne had been “practically destroyed” by shelling. Ukraine president Petro Poroshenko warned on Friday surging fighting had plunged a peace plan reached in Minsk after marathon talks with Russian leader Vladimir Putin into ‘big danger’ before it even got off the ground.

“After Minsk the offensive operation of Russia intensified significantly,” Poroshenko said.The ceasefire, due to take effect from Saturday, will be the first test of the commitment by Kiev and pro-Russian separatists to the freshly-inked peace plan. But with Kiev and Washington claiming Russia was spearheading a separatist push to conquer more territory and government forces digging in, there were fears over whether the truce would be observed at all. 
AFP

AFP

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