16-05-2022 03:44 PM Jerusalem Timing

Ukraine Says Truce Holding Despite Soldiers Death

Ukraine Says Truce Holding Despite Soldiers Death

Ukraine’s army said on Wednesday that a new nine-day truce with pro-Russian separatists was holdings despite small skirmishes that claimed the lives of two government soldiers this week.

Ukraine's army said on Wednesday that a new nine-day truce with pro-Russian separatists was holdings despite small skirmishes that claimed the lives of two government soldiers this week.

"A relative calm on the front is holding," Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told reporters.

Ukraine soldiers"On average, the rebels violate the ceasefire 10 times a day, but they no longer use heavy weapons."

Lysenko said the insurgents staged a raid in the eastern separatist province of Lugansk that was repelled in a 30-minute gun battle in which one government soldier.

Another Ukrainian serviceman was reported killed on Tuesday.

The militia command reported no casualties from the mostly Russian-speaking industrial war zone.

The bitter foes agreed on September 1 to more strictly respect an often-broken February armistice that was meant to end fighting quickly and settle all political disputes by the end of the year.

But a new round of talks in the Belarussian capital Minsk on Tuesday made no reported progress toward a deal that would see both armies withdraw their smaller weapons from the 500-kilometre (310-mile) demilitarization zone.

Rebel command said it expected a special security task force representing the warring sides and Russia to continue with the negotiations with the help of European mediation on Wednesday.

Diplomatic sources said German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande -- two underwriters of the February ceasefire agreement -- were to speak to Ukraine's pro-Western leader Petro Poroshenko and Russia's Vladimir Putin by telephone later Wednesday.