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War continues to rage in Ukraine despite truce

Published:Tuesday | February 17, 2015 | 2:56 PM

Fierce fighting is reported inside the key Ukrainian town of Debaltseve despite a ceasefire that was agreed on last week.

Rebels say they have taken most of Debaltseve, a transport hub, but the government says it is still holding its positions.

International observers tasked with monitoring the ceasefire have been unable to enter the town.

Meanwhile, Ukraine accused separatists of breaching the ceasefire and said hopes for peace were being destroyed.

At a news conference, presidential spokesman Valery Chaly called on participants in the Minsk talks, members of the EU and Nato to protest strongly against the actions of the rebels.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said "fundamental" parts of the ceasefire were not being respected, referring to the Debaltseve fighting and withdrawal of heavy weapons.

Earlier, both sides failed to begin the withdrawal, despite a Monday deadline agreed in the truce.

The two sides were given until two days after the latest ceasefire came into effect to start the pullout.