Separatist 'Prime Minister': The Ceasefire In Ukraine Is Over

Donetsk Airport Control TowerShamil Zhumatov/REUTERSA Ukrainian national flag flies at top of a badly damaged traffic control tower as smoke rises after shelling at the Donetsk Sergey Prokofiev International Airport in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, October 12, 2014.

The self-declared “prime minister” of the breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) has declared on Twitter that the month-old ceasefire between Ukraine and the separatist republic has ended.

Granted, this was the sort of cease-fire during which heavy combat was frequent, including fighting that destroyed much of the Donetsk airport. But on Monday, DNR leader Aleksandr Zakharchenko admitted what has been obvious for some time, and tweeted the following after a period of particularly heavy fighting in Donetsk:

According to a translation provided by The Interpreter, the first tweet says “after today’s shelling of Donetsk with rockets, the ceasefire, even formally, has to be considered abandoned.”

In Zakharchenko’s second tweet, the prime minister conveyed a more combative message.

He wrote “an hour ago, the [Ukrainians] carried out a strike near the old terminal, after which our artillery carried out a strike on the dillweeds’ positions near Peski.”

Ukraine and the Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country had reached a ceasefire in September during a round of peace talks in Minsk. The ceasefire, which would last throughout the duration of the still-ongoing peace talks, essentially froze the conflict’s front lines — but without providing any actual cessation of hostilities.

Fighting between the Ukrainian government and the separatists has been particularly fierce around the city of Donetsk and the often-contested city’s airport. Both sides have exchanged artillery fire, leading to civilian deaths and the almost complete destruction of the airport’s infrastructure.

On Monday, a huge explosion sent shock waves that rattled significant portions of Donetsk.

DNR separatists claimed that the explosion was the result of a Ukrainian rocket hitting a rebel stronghold in the city. The Ukrainians have denied that they were responsible for the strike.

Regardless, the DNR has seized on the explosion as reason enough to declare that the barely holding ceasefire has come to an all-too-predictable close.

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