DONETSK, January 21. /TASS/. Kiev forces have opened fire on the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) for 579 times, the DPR military spokesman Eduard Basurin said on Saturday.
"Over the past 24 hours, Ukraine’s criminal forces have violated the ceasefire 579 times," Basurin was quoted by the Donetsk news agency as saying. "The adversary fired 40 152mm and 122mm artillery projectiles, 129 122mm and 82mm mortars and 407 ammunition from diverse grenade launchers."
Ukraine’s Armed Forces shelled the suburbs of the city of Donetsk - the area of the former airport, the villages of Trudovskiye, Staromikhailovka and Yelenovka in the southwest of the city - the town of Yasinovataya and nearby villages of Krutaya Balka and Zhabichevo, the villages of Zaitsevo and Zheleznaya Balka near the city of Gorlovka along with southern settlements of Nikolayevka, Sakhanka, Leninskoye and Kominternovo, Basurin said.
There have been no immediate reports on casualties or destruction, the DPR command said.
The DPR military spokesman is convinced that the situation along the contact line had a tendency to deteriorate. "What is peculiar," he said, it has happened "after (former US Vice President) Joseph Biden’s visit to Ukraine as he gave clear-defined instructions to subordinate Ukrainian officials to demonstrate the spiraling tensions in the area of the so-called counterterrorism operation and the hysterical ramping up of a mythical threat."
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. The current attempt to reach an "indefinite" ceasefire in Donbass has become the tenth since the conflict erupted in southeastern Ukraine. However, the security situation in Donbass has not visibly improved, after Ukrainian troops had increased shelling of territories of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk at the beginning of January.
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.