A storm of shelling reportedly shatters the calm in eastern Ukraine as a 'Day of Silence' is brought to an abrupt end.
Officials in Kyiv claim a so-called ‘Day of Silence’ in the war-ravaged east of Ukraine has not been respected.
Many Ukrainians saw the temporary suspension of combat operations in Donbass as a stepping stone towards a long-lasting ceasefire in the region.
Although reports suggest the day was mostly peaceful, Ukrainian military sources say they recorded 13 violations as night fell. Separatists allegedly started shelling a number of strategic positions, including two attacks on the international airport in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk.
Insurgent leader Alexander Zakharchenko claims his forces were ordered only to open fire if attacked.
Austro-Russian opera star Anna Netrebko added further fuel to the fire in the weekend prior to the temporary truce. She has been criticised for posing with the flag of the so-called ‘new Russia’ while handing a cheque she said was ‘in support of the arts’ to rebel leader Oleg Tsaryov.
“I think the war should end as soon as
possible,” she said. “But this is politics. I’m not a part of it. I’d like to make this gesture in support of the arts. I believe I will travel to Donbass, but first we will probably wait till the war ends.”
The Austrian foreign ministry has reportedly denounced the meeting as ‘anything but helpful’ given ‘the really difficult situation we are facing in Ukraine’.
Netrebko retaliated, claiming her donation to the opera house in Donetsk was not politically motivated and she had not initially recognised the flag.