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DONETSK, January 2. /TASS/. Pro-Kiev detachments have opened mortar fire on areas of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) located along the contact line in the past 24 hours, DPR defense spokesman Eduard Basurin said on Monday.
"Over the past 24 hours, Ukrainian militants have violated the ceasefire 542 times. The enemy has fired 210 mortars, 23 tank shells and 210 projectiles from different grenade launchers onto the republic’s territory," the Donetsk news agency quoted Basurin as saying.
The tensest situation was unfolding in the south of the republic, he said.
"In the run-up to a visit of Austria’s Foreign Minister, OSCE Chairperson Sebastian Kurz to Mariupol, the number of shelling and armed provocations along the republic’s southern borders is reported to be on the rise," the DPR spokesman said, adding that, the DPR intelligence had reported emergence of heavy weapons at pro-Kiev positions near the contact line in the southern direction. In particular, three 152 mm self-propelled guns Akatsiya were sighted near the village of Granitnoye and five 122-mm howitzers D-30 were reported to be deployed in the village of Stary Krym, located near the city of Mariupol.
On December 21, the Contact Group seeking to find a solution to the Donbass crisis agreed that the ceasefire in Donbass would come into effect at midnight on December 24, ahead of Christmas and New Year holiday celebrations. The current attempt to reach an "indefinite" ceasefire in Donbass has become the tenth since the conflict erupted in southeastern Ukraine.
The Package of Measures to fulfil the September 2014 Minsk agreements, known as Minsk-2, that was signed in Minsk on February 12, 2015, envisaged a ceasefire regime between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) starting from February 15, 2015 and a subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.