The rebels have promised that the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will soon be able to verify that they have removed all heavy guns. The OSCE says it cannot yet verify the withdrawal because the sides have not provided data on how many guns were in place before the truce. The European security body reported some shelling and shooting at various locations, including near Shyrokyne, a coastal town where Kiev has also reported fighting.
The Kiev military nevertheless said the number of ceasefire violations had “significantly decreased” for a second straight night. No shooting was recorded at all in the Donetsk, Luhansk and Mariupol areas, it said. Overall, rebels had fired shells and mortars 15 times and opened fire four times with light weapons during the 24-hour period. Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said: “For now there is still no order on the withdrawal of weapons, as the fighters have not yet fulfilled the first point of the Minsk agreement, to cease fire.” Kiev fears the rebels, backed by Russian troops, may now be planning to capture Mariupol, a port of 500,000 people. Moscow denies aiding its sympathisers in east Ukraine.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said additional sanctions against Russia were “teed up” should events in eastern Ukraine require a significant response. Britain ruled out deploying combat troops to Ukraine, a day after it said it was sending 75 military trainers to help the Ukrainian army. Poland said it intended to send military instructors to train Ukrainian soldiers.