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Ukrainian units violate "bread ceasefire" with Donetsk Republic - command

Lugansk People's Republic's militia said that the Ukrainian military opened fire on territory of the self-proclaimed republic 35 minutes after the "bread ceasefire" began

DONETSK, June 24. /TASS/. The Ukrainian units on Saturday have opened fire ten times on the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) thus violating the recently agreed "bread ceasefire," the republic’s operations command said.

"From 00:00 we have fixed ten violations," the Donetsk News Agency quoted the command. "Over the past 24 hours, the Ukrainian Armed Forces 50 times violated ceasefire as they shelled districts of 21 settlements in the republic."

The defense authority added, the Ukrainian side used artillery, tanks, mortars, IFVs’ weapons and small arms. Two houses were damaged in Dokuchayevsk, and Vasilyevka remains in blackout.

LuganskInformCenter said on Saturday referring to the republic’s militia that the Ukrainian military opened fire on territory of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) 35 minutes after the "bread ceasefire" began.

"At 00:35, on June 24, they opened fire from Stanitsa Luganskaya on the area of Prince Igor’s monument," the militia said.

On Wednesday, Martin Sajdik, the special envoy of the OSCE chairman-in-office said ‘peace and quiet order’ would cover the entire harvesting season from June 24 through to August 31 and therefore the parties to the Minsk talks decided to call it a ‘bread ceasefire’.

Ceasefires have been declared many a time in Donbass since the spring of 2014, when the armed civil conflict broke out in eastern Ukraine. The conflicting sides agreed them at beginning of school year, before Christmas, before Easter, on the eve of the Children’s Day and so on. Officials voiced hopes the ceasefires would grow into indefinite ones but none of the declared periods of truce would last long - the shelling resumed after a couple of weeks, in a few days or even hours.

The plenipotentiary representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, said at the recent meeting it was not enough to simply declare a ceasefire - the parties to the conflict apparently needed a mechanism for supporting it - the pullback of weaponry and units along contact line, he said. So far, however, the sides have failed to set up even the first security zones, agreement on which was reached last September. At least in one place - in the area of Stanitsa Luganskaya township - the attempts to do this have proved fruitless.

The head of the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, Alexander Hug in his recent report pointed to the failure to comply with the ceasefire provisions and to pull back the weaponry. SMM reported a total of 45 civilians died because of armed actions in Donbass from January 1 through mid-June and another 216 were wounded. This is a double growth year-on-year, Hug said. In 2016, 23 people died and another 84 were wounded.