According to deputy head of the DPR militia, Eduard Basurin, Kiev has accepted a proposal to establish a fully-fledged ceasefire in the contested Debaltseve area.
DONETSK (Sputnik) — Kiev has accepted a proposal by the authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) to establish a fully-fledged ceasefire in the contested Debaltseve area on Friday to ensure the safe evacuation of civilians from the combat zone, a senior DPR official said Thursday.
According to deputy head of the DPR militia, Eduard Basurin, the ceasefire will be introduced at 09.00 am local time on January 6.
“The DPR is preparing buses and cars to transport the civilians. The evacuation through a humanitarian corridor will start at 11.00 an local time with refugees heading either to Gorlovka [controlled by DPR militia] or Artemovsk [controlled by Kiev-led forces],” Basurin said.
Earlier, the head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) urged all sides of the Ukrainian conflict to establish a temporary ceasefire agreement that would allow for the creation of humanitarian corridors in areas affected by deadly military action, especially around Debaltseve.
Kiev-led troops and independence fighters in eastern Ukraine have traded blame for fatal shelling incidents in the region in recent weeks. The attacks killed dozens and wounded hundreds of civilians in conflict-torn cities of Donetsk, Mariupol and Debaltseve, a key rail junction, which has been a hot spot of violence.
As of early Thursday, thousands of Kiev soldiers remained surrounded by independence fighters in Debaltseve.
Prior to the latest agreement, violations of the September, 2014 Minsk ceasefire deal have continued unabated since the start of 2015, which saw intensified fighting between independence supporters and Kiev forces that launched a military operation in Ukraine’s southeast in mid-April last year.
Debaltseve, which is located in the Donetsk region, has been at the forefront of increased clashes between local militia and Kiev forces that launched a military operation in Ukraine’s southeast last spring. Thousands of Ukrainian troops are currently trapped within in the city, and pro-independence forces surround the area.