Ukraine truce hanging by a thread? Woman killed in Mariupol, blasts heard near Donetsk

Just a day after a much-needed ceasefire took hold in eastern Ukraine after four-months of violence, intense explosions were heard near the eastern city of Mariupol on Saturday evening, jeopardising the truce and forcing the Red Cross aid trucks to turn back.

Ukraine truce hanging by a thread? Woman killed in Mariupol, blasts heard near Donetsk

Kiev: Ukraine ceasefire, that was signed in Minsk after four-months of violence, looked quiet shaky on Sunday as intense explosions were heard near the eastern city of Mariupol and Donetsk, jeopardising the truce and forcing the Red Cross aid trucks to turn back.

Also, in what is the first reported death since the ceasefire, a woman was killed in the violence in Mariupol fighting, the AFP reported.

The International Committee of the Red Cross in a statement said that its aid trucks were forced to turn back from Luhansk due to shelling.

“Aid much needed in east Ukraine. We must be allowed to deliver it in safety, as soon as possible,” the Red Cross added.

The ceasefire that was agreed between the Ukraine government and pro-Russia rebels after talks that held in Belarus between representatives from both sides and also Russia and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), came into effect at 15:00 GMT on Friday.

However, after 24 hours of lull in violence, shelling had resumed in Saturday evening, as loud explosions were heard from the eastern fringes of Mariupol and reportedly, there was an exchange of artillery fire. 

Shelling and gunfire was also heard near the airport in Donetsk, the CNN quoted the city council website.

The Ukrainian government has accused the rebels for violating the ceasefire, as the national security council's spokesperson Col Lysenko said in a statement, that the terrorists try to provoke by carrying armed attacks. The rebels, on the other hand, accused the government of artillery attacks, reported the Itar-tass news agency.

Earlier, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said that he had a phone talk with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on signing of the peace protocol for consultation Tripartite contact group on 5 September in Minsk.

During the phone discussion, the two leaders noted that “the ceasefire was fulfilled as a whole” and they also discussed steps to make the ceasefire more stable that would include more OSCE monitoring.

The 12 points of Minsk ceasefire protocol include the release of the hostages, border control and OSCE monitoring, said the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine.

More than 2600 people have been killed in the bloodshed since April, after Russia took over Crimea from Ukraine in March.

Ukraine and the West have been claiming that Russia has been sending regular troops into eastern Ukraine to mobilise the rebels against Kiev, however the claim has been denied by Russia every time.

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