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Fighting in E Ukraine eases amid truce

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-12-27 09:51

KIEV -- The ceasefire which took effect in eastern Ukraine on Saturday has brought a relative calm to some areas in the conflict-ravaged region over the weekend.

Still, the rival sides accuse each other of ignoring the truce, raising worries of a possible resumption of full-scale hostilities.

In the small town of Mariinka in the Donetsk region, which lies on the frontline between government troops and independence-seeking insurgents, guns fell almost silent despite the sporadic sounds of small arms being fired.

The residents and soldiers living in the town, tired from months of artillery shelling, pay little attention to the shots.

In the meantime, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said the security situation in some areas along the frontline was far from peaceful during the weekend.

Insurgents carried out 33 attacks on positions held by government forces on Sunday, injuring five soldiers, said Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the ministry.

Meanwhile, insurgents said government troops carried out 189 attacks on their positions, using tanks, grenade launchers and small arms.

It is noteworthy that no death has been confirmed in the conflict-torn region in the past two days, while in the previous week both sides have reported multiple combat fatalities.

On Dec. 21, the Contact Group on the Ukraine crisis, which held a meeting in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, called on the conflicting parties in eastern Ukraine to begin a comprehensive, steady and definite ceasefire starting from midnight local time on Dec. 24.

The conflict between government troops and rebels in eastern Ukraine has been raging since April 2014, claiming some 10,000 lives.

The previous rounds of truce efforts have repeatedly failed, with the two sides accusing each other of ceasefire violations.

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