LUGANSK, July 21. /TASS/. An indefinite ceasefire between the Kiev government and the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) went into effect in eastern Ukraine at 00:00 Moscow time on Sunday.
The Contact Group on Ukrainian reconciliation, which convened in the Belarusian capital of Minsk on July 17, has agreed on additional measures to ensure the efficiency of ceasefire compliance.
The agreements include a ban on any hostilities and personal responsibility for ceasefire violations.
Kiev officials does not rule out that this ceasefire will last until the conflict is fully settled, but the self-proclaimed republics doubt Ukraine’s ability to observe the truce.
Prior to that, the spring ceasefire that went into effect on March 8 was in place in the region. It was violated by the Kiev military forces hours after it began.
"It has been agreed that an indefinite ceasefire will take effect at midnight on July 21," Ukraine’s envoy to the political subgroup of the Contact Group on resolving the conflict Roman Bessmertny told reporters on July 18. "The ceasefire may last for the longest time, it may also remain forever, making it possible to accomplish all tasks," he said.
However, DPR leader Denish Pushilin was less optimistic about the ceasefire’s future, pointing out at Kiev’s ongoing shelling of civilian facilities in Donbass, including kindergartens in Donetsk People’s Republic.
"Shelling continues on the backdrop of a peaceful rally initiated by people living in the two republics and agreements on an indefinite ceasefire. People continue to be killed," he said in a statement. "Such actions give us grounds to doubt that the ceasefire agreement can ever be enforced from July 21. We call on Kiev and the world community to stop killings of people in Donbass."
According to Pushilin, the current developments in Donbass only testify to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s inability to ensure peace. "Zelensky is either incapable of controlling the Ukrainian army or has deliberately opted for a path of terror in Donbass," he added.
He recalled that the settlement of Veseloye in the DPR had once again come under shelling by Ukrainian troops the day after the ceasefire was reached. Two shells hit kindergartens. A woman died in hospital after being wounded in another episode of shelling by Ukrainian troops on the same day.
On the eve of the ceasefire, the people’s militias of DPR ad LPR reaffirmed their commitment to implementing the ceasefire and expressed hope that Kiev will do the same.
"In relation to the agreement reached on introducing an indefinite ceasefire starting 00:01 on July 21, 2019, the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic ruled the People’s Militia to issue the corresponding order to all units and every serviceman," the Donetsk News Agency quoted DPR militia commander Denis Sinenkov as saying.
For his part, LPR militia commander Mikhail Filiponenko expressed hope that the Ukrainian side will adhere to the agreement as well. "The People’s Militia of the Lugansk People’s Republic has always strived for peaceful settlement of the conflict, considering it to be one of its priority goals. We are ready to adhere to the conditions of another ceasefire and, as earlier, we are ready to implement a ceasefire regime," the Luganskinformcenter news agency quoted him as saying.