Ukraine: Rebels and government blame each other for breaking ceasefire

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Ukraine: Rebels and government blame each other for breaking ceasefire

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There may officially be a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine but residents in Slovyansk have seen little sign of it.

Heavy shelling overnight on Wednesday destroyed houses, and electricity shortages cut off water supplies for many.

Both the rebels and the government accuse each other of breaking the ceasefire.

One woman whose house was damaged said: “In our neighbourhood there has been shooting for about a week. This is the third time that it has been so bad. Yesterday it was very bad. It was very close. We were all sitting here.”

Eighteen people have been killed since the ceasefire was declared last Friday.

Local volunteers in Slovyansk who deliver food to people estimate that around 40 percent of the population has fled the city.

Ukraine’s prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said the country was facing a new type of conflict.

“The situation in the country is too difficult. Unplanned billions are being spent on ensuring the territorial integrity of Ukraine as a state. There is a new form of war being waged against us,” he said.

On Wednesday afternoon, leaders of France, German, Ukraine and Russia held a conference call. They talked about extending the current ceasefire which is due to expire on Thursday, the release of prisoners held by both sides and the OSCE helping to oversee a truce.