Weapons Deal Rumors Fly as Ukraine Ceasefire Called into Question

A bombed out street in Mariupol, Ukraine after overnight shelling reportedly dashed hopes of a lasting ceasefire. (Screenshot via Ruptly tv)

Weapons Deal Rumors Fly as Ukraine Ceasefire Called into Question

Amnesty International accuses both sides of being responsible for 'war crimes'

The recently announced ceasefire between the Ukrainian government and separatists is now being called into question as news broke Sunday of new skirmishes erupting outside the city of Donetsk.

Meanwhile, according to reports, the Ukrainian government is expecting support in the form of "military advisers and modern weapons" from western states including the U.S., France, Italy, Poland and Norway.

According to Kiev Post reporter Christopher Miller, Yuri Lutsenko, elected leader of the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko party, announced the news in a Facebook post early Sunday, which Miller translated and posted to Twitter.

Norway's defense minister is reportedly denying the alleged weapons deal.

With both sides pointing fingers, media reported on Sunday that heavy gunfire and shelling erupted overnight in the eastern Ukraine city of Mariupol. Rebels said they were responding to "provocations" by Ukraine government forces. A 33-year-old woman has been killed in the fighting.

On Friday, human rights group Amnesty International issued a statement saying that both sides of the Ukrainian conflict are guilty of war crimes. "All sides in this conflict have shown disregard for civilian lives and are blatantly violating their international obligations," said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's Secretary General. Echoing the accusations of NATO member states, the group also blamed Russia for "fueling the conflict, both through direct interference and by supporting the separatists in the East."

Details of the tenuous peace agreement were made public by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which took part in the talks.

According to the Guardian's analysis of the plan:

Kiev and separatist rebels signed up to a 12-point plan that includes a ceasefire, exchange of all prisoners, and "decentralisation" of power for the eastern regions. It appears to suggest that Donetsk and Luhansk will remain inside Ukraine, although representatives of the separatist governments claim they are still seeking full independence from Kiev.[...]

The prisoner swap was expected imminently but neither side was forthcoming with details of how and when it would happen.

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