Ukrainian officials lay flowers at monument honoring servicemen who fought in Afghanistan. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Ukrainian leaders laid flowers on Sunday (February 15) at a monument in Kiev honoring soldiers who served in the Soviet war with Afghanistan. Poroshenko, who along with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk and Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko attended the memorial, made no comments about the ceasefire that took effect over eastern Ukraine just hours before. Guns fell abruptly silent at midnight across much of eastern Ukraine in line with the ceasefire agreement, reached after a week of diplomacy led by France and Germany. But pro-Russian rebels announced they would not observe the truce at Debaltseve, where Ukrainian army forces were encircled. The Organization for Security and Cooperation, responsible for monitoring the ceasefire, said rebels had denied its observers access to Debaltseve. It said firing continued in the town, one of a few exceptions to a truce that was otherwise largely being observed. Both sides blamed what firing there was on the enemy. But Debaltseve has been the focus of fighting for weeks, and it will be hard to speak of a truce if Ukrainian troops remain trapped there under fire, or the rebels press on with their advance. The ceasefire, negotiated in all-night four-power talks on Thursday (February 12), foresees creation of a buffer zone and withdrawal of heavy weapons. More than 5,000 people have been killed in the conflict that has caused the worst crisis in Russia-West relations since the Cold War.