Emergency UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine to begin

World Today

A Ukrainian serviceman sits in an armored vehicle with a Ukrainian flag in the back, as armored vehicles with canons in tow line up on a road in the village of Fedorivka, eastern Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Ukrainian and Russian-backed separatist forces have begun drawing back heavy weapons from the front line separating them in compliance with a cease-fire deal agreed in Belarus earlier in the month. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

The UN Security Council scheduled an emergency session to discuss the fragile ceasefire in Ukraine on Friday, a year to the day since Russian troops and pro-Moscow forces began seizing ports and cities on the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea.

Diplomats at the United Nations said the Security Council would hold an emergency session on Friday on the ceasefire deal at the request of France and Germany. Council members will hear a report from two Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe representatives on the situation on the ground, before holding talks behind closed doors.

While OSCE monitors have reported seeing some big guns heading away from the rebel lines, they say the warring sides have not provided information needed to determine what, if any, arms withdrawals have occurred.

Fighting has died down dramatically over the past few days. Ukraine’s military said for the second day running that there were no fatalities among its soldiers but that four had been wounded.

The anniversary of the seizure, which triggered the worst standoff in East-West relations since the Cold War, came as the shaky ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels appeared to be holding.

Ukraine’s military said Thursday it had started withdrawing heavy weapons from the front line, bolstering a peace plan that was meant to come into force on February 15 but only took hold across the conflict zone in recent days.

The announced pull-back is a key part of a peace deal negotiated earlier this month in the Belarus capital Minsk.

This report was compiled from Reuters.