Troops of the Ukrainian nationalist battalions shelled northern outskirts of the city of Donetsk from mortars on Saturday night, the Donetsk news agency said citing a source with the defence ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).


“The shelling of the villages of Spartak, Zhibachevo and the area surrounding the Volvo service centre in Donetsk’s north started at 7.30 p.m. (4.30 GMT) and have just ended,” the source said specifying that the fire was opened with mortars 82mm and 120mm calibre, grenade launchers and small arms from the village of Peski controlled by Kiev forces.
No fatalities have been reported so far, he said.


On September 29, the Trilateral Contact Group initialled a document envisaging withdrawal of weapons under 100mm calibre to a distance of 15 kilometres for the line of engagement. In line with the agreement, the Ukrainian military are due to pull the weapons back from the current contact line while the militias of the self-proclaimed republics from the line determined on September 19, 2014, when first agreements on ceasefire were achieved and the Contact Group signed the memorandum on cessation of fire.


The Contact Group on Ukraine comprising senior representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE on February 12, 2015, signed a 13-point Package of Measures to fulfil the September 2014 Minsk agreements. The package was agreed with the leaders of the Normandy Four, namely Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine.


The Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk starting from February 15 and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.


On October 2, leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine held talks in Paris in the so-called Normandy format. According to Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the talks were “intense and business-like.”


He said the leaders discussed implementation of the Minsk Agreements, including withdrawal of armaments, elections, amnesty, gas issues and other crises, including air services. The Kremlin spokesman confirmed the sides held constructive talks and confirmed that the Minsk deals have no alternative.