The Ukrainian ceasefire brokered last week took effect yesterday, but there are already fears that it may fall apart. Last week’s ceasefire was the second, the first one had fallen apart due to complications regarding the various different militant and rebel groups. Andriy Lysenko, an Ukrainian defense spokesman, has said that there has been at least 129 violations of the ceasefire. In addition, skirmishes between the Ukrainian government and separatist forces have caused the death of five people and twenty-five to be wounded.
Both sides were supposed to pull their heavy artillery out of the conflict zones on Monday, however neither side has. The Ukrainian military has said that they will pull their forces when the situation calms down and they have repeatedly claimed that they only shoot their weapons in returning fire.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said that if the ceasefire fails, he will implement martial law in Ukraine in order to take control.
The ceasefire has been successful in many parts of Ukraine, however.
Statement from U.S. Department of State Spokeswoman Jen Psaki:
The United States is gravely concerned by the deteriorating situation in and around Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine. The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission confirms that attacks continue in this area as well as other locations, including Sievierodonetsk, Luhansk, and Donetsk city. The Government of Ukraine reports that its forces have been fired on 129 times in the last 24 hours by Russia-backed separatists, killing 5 and wounding 25, including attacks on a convoy evacuating the wounded from Debaltseve. The separatists have publicly declared that they refuse to observe the cease-fire in Debaltseve, and OSCE monitors have not been provided security guarantees for access. These aggressive actions and statements by the Russia-backed separatists threaten the most recent cease-fire and jeopardize the planned withdrawal of heavy weapons, as called for in the February 12 Minsk packet of implementing measures. We are closely monitoring reports of a new column of Russian military equipment moving toward Debaltseve.
We call on Russia and the separatists it backs to halt all attacks immediately, engage with the OSCE to facilitate the cease-fire, and, as called for in the packet of measures agreed to on February 12, fully implement their September 5 and 19 Minsk commitments.