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MOSCOW, August 10. /TASS/. Ukraine’s armed forces fired the total of 663 artillery, tank and mortar shells on the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) over past 24 hours, the republic’s defense ministry said on Monday.
"The situation in the Donetsk Republic has become much worse; and the number of violations of ceasefire tripled over past 24 hours," the Donetsk News Agency quoted the ministry. The Ukrainian military fired "on territory of the republic 306 artillery shells of 152 and 122 mm calibers, 140 tank and 217 mortar shells of 82 and 120 mm calibers."
"160 shells were fired on the Telman district from a Grad multiple rocket launcher system," the ministry said. "Three civilians were killed, and one got injured."
On April 7, 2014, the then Ukraine’s acting president Oleksandr Turchinov announced plans to launch an "anti-terrorist operation" in the country’s eastern regions that disagreed with the Kiev authorities’ policy. By summer 2014, clashes between Ukrainian army and local militias grew into large-scale combat operations involving heavy weapons and warplanes. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the violence in Ukraine has killed 6,500 people in the past year, wounded 16,000 and left 5 million people in need of humanitarian aid. With more than 1.3 million registered IDPs, Ukraine has now the ninth largest number of internally displaced in the world, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.
The Minsk accords were signed on February 12, 2015 after 14-hour negotiations between the leaders of Normandy Four (Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko) in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk. Concurrently, Minsk hosted a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukrainian settlement.
A 13-point Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk agreements in particular included an agreement on cessation of fire from February 15, withdrawal of heavy armaments, as well as measures on long-term political settlement of the situation in Ukraine, including establishment of working subgroups as priority tasks.
Four subgroups, tasked with addressing security, political, economic and humanitarian issues, are expected to advance work by the Contact Group in activating elements of the Minsk deal. The Contact Group and its all subgroups are due to meet next time on August 26 in Minsk.