One day after the signing of the Minsk peace accord, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has cast doubt on the agreement’s practicability.
“I want nobody to have any illusions. We are still far away from peace, and nobody is fully convinced that the conditions for peace signed in Minsk will be firmly implemented,” Poroshenko said during a visit to a military training centre outside Kiev.
He added however that he hopes for a political solution because the Minsk talks were held directly between the leaders of France, Ukraine, Germany and Russia.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that Moscow expects all sides to fulfill their obligations from the deal, Russian news agencies reported.
Ukraine, Russia and the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine signed a peace deal in the Belarusian capital after a summit between Poroshenko, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande.
The leaders however only signed a joint political declaration, while the 13-point agreement was signed by former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and Russian ambassador Mikhail Zurabov, the members of the so-called Ukraine contact group.
The deal says a ceasefire is to commence in the night from Saturday to Sunday and that heavy weapons are subsequently to be withdrawn from the front line. It also stipulates a blanket amnesty and the freeing of prisoners.
The separatists on Friday however accused Kiev of reneging on the agreement after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said the amnesty will not be applied to the separatists’ top leaders.
Asked in the parliament in Kiev if Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky will be included in the amnesty, Klimkin replied “the answer is very simple – no,” according to Interfax Ukraine.
“They are plainly trying to dodge the implementation of what was agreed before,” Vladislav Deinego, the representative of the “Luhansk People’s Republic” at the Minsk talks, told Interfax.
Meanwhile, fighting continued in the run-up to the ceasefire’s beginning, with more than 20 people reported to have been killed on Friday.
Ten civilians were killed and 19 were injured in the past 24 hours by artillery attacks in the cities of Donetsk, Horlivka and Luhansk, the separatists said. Among them were three children, militia leader Eduard Basurin was quoted as saying by the Donetsk news agency.
Basurin blamed the Ukrainian military for the attacks.
The pro-Kiev governor of the Luhansk region, Hennadiy Moskal, said two people were killed and six were injured when artillery shells hit a cafe in the city of Shchastya.
Ukraine’s Security Council said 11 soldiers were killed and 40 were injured in clashes during the same period.