An explosion happened during a pro Ukrainian march to mark the anniversary of the overthrow of the Pro- Russia leaning government. Two people were killed during the pro government march in the eastern city of Kharkiv on Sunday revealing deep fissures within the Ukrainian polity.
Meanwhile Ukrainian Army and Pro Russian rebels continue to wrangle on enforcing the provisions of the treaty which required both the sides to pull back heavy weapons.
A new flashpoint has appeared in the form of the port city of Mariupol on the Azov Sea. Kiev is accusing Russia of trying to grab the city through the deployment of several tanks.
Citizens had gathered to mark the one year anniversary of the Pro – EU protests in Ukraine. One of the killed was a police officer. The explosion injured more than 11 people. An AFP journalist has reported that he saw two bodies covered with Ukrainian Flag lying on the ground.
“I thought it was a stun grenade, but then I saw people fall down,” an organizer of the march, Igor Rasokha, said.
The town of Kharkiv is situated more than 120 miles from the frontline where a civil war is smoldering in spite of a UN backed ceasefire agreement in place.
Ukraine’s military and the rebels are trying to salvage what is left of the ceasefire agreement by agreeing to pull back heavy weapons from the frontline and also swapping prisoners. .
Ukraine’s military and the rebels sought to salvage parts of the truce Sunday, agreeing to pull back heavy weapons from the frontline and swapping prisoners overnight.
However even these steps described as the barest minimum is fraught with risks of failure. Insurgents said that the withdrawal of heavy weapons will start on Tuesday since it requires some form of preparations. On the other hand Kiev wants the withdrawal to start immediately without any form of delay.
The focus of the fighting has shifted to the port city of Mariupol, held by the army. The 10 month conflict has already killed more than 5700 people. Kiev has accused Moscow of sending 20 tanks near Mariupol. Defense spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, claimed that there were two tank attacks on the city early Sunday and the fighting is still continuing.
Meanwhile the US has warned that further breaches to the tattered ceasefire could lead to stern sanctions on Russia within days.
John Kerry, US Secretary of State, said on Saturday that “if this failure continues, make no mistake, there will be further consequences including consequences that will place added strains on Russia’s already troubled economy”.
The US, EU and Ukraine, all three accuse Russia of fomenting the separatist insurgency by providing material and military aid clandestinely. Russia denies these allegations but has been slapped by successive rounds of Western sanctions which has hit its economy hard.