MOSCOW (AP) — Separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine on Friday accused government forces of shelling residential areas under their control with heavy artillery, while Ukrainian forces also accused the rebels of violating the ongoing cease-fire.
The rebel mouthpiece Donetsk News Agency said Ukrainian forces used Grad multiple rocket launchers Thursday night and Friday morning north of Donetsk. Under the Sept. 1 cease-fire, which has largely held, heavy weaponry was supposed to have been withdrawn weeks ago.
The uptick in fighting comes as the foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany are gathering in Berlin for talks to discuss a peace settlement for the conflict which has already claimed more than 8,000 lives.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pointed to progress such as the truce between rebels and government troops. He said: "that is good but it is not enough."
Steinmeier said implementation is behind schedule and difficult issues such as the preparation of elections in eastern Ukraine still have to be dealt with. He said the aim Friday is "not to let go of the momentum."