'Fundamental' parts of Ukraine ceasefire not respected: French minister
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Tuesday that "fundamental" parts of the ceasefire deal in Ukraine were not being followed, despite a reduction in fighting between government and rebel forces.
"We can say the ceasefire is being generally respected, but there are two major 'buts'," Fabius told the French parliament.
He said "extremely heavy fighting" was continuing around the contested town of Debaltseve in eastern Ukraine, which pro-Russian rebels claim was not covered by the ceasefire agreement which came into force on Saturday.
Nor has there been a withdrawal of heavy weapons as planned, said Fabius.
"Clearly, these two aspects are fundamental."
France and Germany led the way in pushing for the truce deal in a bid to end the 10-month conflict that has claimed some 5,500 lives.
"Between the agreement on paper and the agreement on the ground, there are clearly differences," said Fabius.
© 2015 AFP