As pro-Russian separatists have publicly declared they refuse to observe the ceasefire in Debaltseve in Ukraine, the security situation continues to deteriorate in the eastern part of the country.
According to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission, attacks continue to escalate in this town as well as other locations, including Sievierodonetsk, Luhansk, and Donetsk city.
The Ukraine authorities confirmed that pro-Russia separatists fired 129 times within 24 hours that killed 5 and wounded 25.
Heavy artillery fire roared through eastern Ukraine as fighting raged between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists that continued hours before a cease-fire was to take effect. The most recent ceasefire on February 12 called for withdrawal of heavy weapons between the warring sides.
US Expressed Concern Over Ongoing Clashes
In a press statement in Washington DC, US Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said the US was gravely concerned by the deteriorating situation in and around Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine.
She highlighted that aggressive actions and statements by the Russia-backed separatists threaten the most recent cease-fire agreement.
“We are closely monitoring reports of a new column of Russian military equipment moving toward Debaltseve.” – Ms. Psaki
The US reiterated its call on Russia and the separatists it backs to immediately halt all attacks, engage with the OSCE to facilitate the cease-fire, and, as called for in the packet of measures agreed to on February 12, fully implement their September 5 and 19 Minsk commitments.
Conflict Killed More Than 5,300 People
Since the start of the turmoil, the death toll has reached to more than 5,300 people and displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians. The clashes started in April 2014 after armed separatists took control of towns and official buildings in the Dometsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine.