Peace talks due to take place in Minsk on Friday between the Kyiv government and pro-Russian rebels have been cancelled.
It’s been reported that Ukrainian authorities said the pro-Russian militants have failed to fulfil their promise of exchanging prisoners agreed to in talks held on Wednesday.
Russia and the OSCE have also taken part in the negotiations.
Friday’s meeting was due to deal with the removal of heavy weapons from the front line, the exchange of prisoners and Kyiv ending the economic blockade in rebel-held areas.
Meanwhile, the festive season has given the Ukrainian city of Donetsk a welcome break from the violence that has been raging in the region since April.
The embattled city’s busy markets have been full with shoppers and there appeared to be a shared feeling of hope for the new year.
Donetsk resident, Vasiliy Popov, said he wants “peace in 2015 for both sides in the conflict. They need to find some sense and rethink things. We’re one nation and I want Donetsk to prosper, he adds. This year has not been very good – war, devastation, old people and children have died. It’s a shame what has happened.”
At least 4,700 people have died in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, with over 1,300 of those killed since a shaky ceasefire was agreed in September.
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