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MOSCOW, February 16. /TASS/. Ukrainian military forces shelled the settlement of Gorlovka in the southeast of the country on three occasions since the introduction of the ceasefire, Denis Pushilin, the official representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) at the Contact Group on Ukraine, said.
"There were three instances of artillery fire registered on behalf of the Ukrainian armed forces on the settlement of Gorlovka," Pushilin was cited as saying by the local Donetsk news agency.
"One of the [artillery] shells hit the Emergencies Ministry’s headquarters in the district of Kalinovka," he said. "The roof of the building was damaged as a result of the attack."
"There were also more hits [by artillery shells] in residential areas of the Central and Perovo districts," Pushilin said.
The Belarusian capital of Minsk hosted last Thursday summit talks of Normandy Four leaders - Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The 16-hour marathon summit negotiations ended in a package of agreements, which in particular envisaged ceasefire between the Ukrainian conflicting sides starting from midnight on February 15.
The package of measures also envisages the pullback of all heavy weapons by both parties to locations equidistant from the disengagement line in order to create a security zone at least 50 kilometers wide for artillery systems with a caliber of 100 mm or more, a zone of security 70 kilometers wide for multiple rocket launchers and a zone 140 kilometers wide for multiple rocket launchers Tornado-S, Uragan and Smerch and the tactical rocket systems Tochka-U.
The final document says that the Ukrainian troops are to be pulled back away from the current line of engagement and the militias of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, from the engagement line set by the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014.
The ceasefire agreement reached at the talks in Minsk last week was not the first during the military conflict in Ukraine, which erupted less than a year ago. The previous ceasefire between Kiev authorities and defense forces of the self-proclaimed republics in the southeast of Ukraine was reached in September with the mediation of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The ceasefire was agreed upon on September 5 at talks between the parties to the Ukrainian conflict as well as the OSCE representatives. It was reached in the Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.
However, numerous violations of the ceasefire, which took effect the same day, have been reported since. The situation in the southeast of Ukraine deteriorated further with the start of this year as military clashes intensified resulting in numerous casualties on both conflicting sides.
The deterioration in Ukraine prompted a diplomatic blitz from Hollande and Merkel two weeks ago as they went first for talks with Poroshenko in Kiev on February 5 and then met with Putin in Kremlin the other day.
Thousands have been killed and hundreds of thousands of people have fled Ukraine’s embattled east as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation, conducted since mid-April 2014, to regain control over parts of the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics.