Ukraine, pro-Russian rebels agree Orthodox Easter truce
Ukraine and pro-Russian eastern separatist rebels on Friday agreed a new truce deal in honour of Orthodox Easter celebrated across much of the former Soviet Union this weekend.
A spokeswoman for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's envoy to the OSCE-mediated talks held in the Belarussian capital Minsk said the latest ceasefire would go into effect at midnight Friday (2100 GMT).
"It was agreed that instructions for full compliance with the ceasefire will be delivered to all the responsible officials on the ground," said a copy of the agreed joint statement posted by Ukrainian spokesman Darka Olifer on Facebook.
The Donetsk rebels' main news site said the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's representative at the meeting had promised that his oversight body would monitor the deal's implementation and report any violations.
"However, today's agreement is far from the first of its kind," the separatist news agency noted.
"Since autumn of 2014, when the sides of this conflict first began their negotiations in Minsk, there have been at least seven of them," the separatist site said.
Each truce was soon violated and the two-year war has now claimed more than 9,300 lives.
Friday's deal is meant to go into effect on the eve of Easter Sunday and cover holidays that cover international workers' day on May 1 and the ex-Soviet Union's May 8 commemoration of victory over Nazi Germany during World War II.
It comes just a day after the OSCE noted that the level of violence was once again approaching "worrying levels" not seen in the war-scarred industrial east of Ukraine for a number of months.
© 2016 AFP