2014-12-12 08:49:00

Fragile truce in Ukraine

(Vatican Radio)  Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says a truce between his government's troops and pro-Russian separatists has resulted in the first day free of deaths or injuries for his soldiers since the conflict erupted months ago. 

Yet, the truce remains fragile as at least three government soldiers were reportedly killed the previous day, officials cautioned.   

Poroshenko said a ceasefire, which began Tuesday with his proposed "day of silence", appears to have been holding in the war-torn east since Thursday. 

Wrapping up a three day visit to Australia, he told reporters Friday that the region saw "the first 24 hours in seven months" of "a real cease fire in Ukraine". 

Poroshenko made clear there were no casualties reported during this period.   

He said he is praying that this process will continue. Poroshenko added political dialogue should be used to reach peace and stability, as the conflict left already more than 4,300 people dead and displaced hundreds of thousands.

The truce between government forces and pro-Russian separatists remains fragile. Since Tuesday, at least three government soldiers were killed in isolated clashes.   

The initial 'Day of Silence' was shattered by shelling including around the international airport in the rebel stronghold of Donetsk.

A rebel leader claimed his forces were ordered only to open fire if attacked. 

Despite the tensions, Kiev still hopes to launch a new round of internationally backed peace talks with the pro-Russian separatists in Minsk, Belarus, after they were postponed earlier this week. 


Listen to this report by Stefan Bos


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