Ukraine Ceasefire at Risk
KIEV – Shelling overnight has broken a fragile two-day peace in eastern Ukraine. As residents came out of their homes and secure shelters to survey the damage on Sunday (September 7), in the city on the Sea of Azov, to the south of Donetsk, government forces came under artillery fire.
One hotel on the road from Mariupol to rebel-controlled Novoazovsk, was damaged after artillery that exploded in a tree, crumbling bricks near its roof, shattering windows and ribbing metal from the building’s facade.
As relatives of the hotel’s owner swept up debris and gathered parts of the hotel building strewn across a lot, they lamented the brief stall in the fighting.
The ceasefire, brokered by envoys from Ukraine, the separatist leadership, Russia and Europe’s OSCE security watchdog on Friday (September 5) in Minsk, is part of a peace plan intended to end a five-month conflict that has killed nearly 3,000 people.
United States President Obama speaking in Estonia, before returning to Washington said, “It challenges that most basic of principles of our international system — that borders cannot be redrawn at the barrel of a gun; that nations have the right to determine their own future. It undermines an international order where the rights of peoples and nations are upheld and can’t simply be taken away by brute force. This is what’s at stake in Ukraine. This is why we stand with the people of Ukraine today.”
Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko on Saturday. The Russians state, “The discussion focused on the situation in Ukraine in view of the Contact Group meeting in Minsk on September 5, where a Protocol on assisting a peaceful settlement in the southeast of the country was adopted”.
“Both leaders expressed satisfaction with the fact that the parties to the conflict are generally complying with the ceasefire and stressed the importance of the OSCE monitoring the situation”.
The two Presidents also touched upon ensuring the delivery of humanitarian aid to the residents of Donetsk and Lugansk regions.