Ukraine’s military has announced that it will begin withdrawing heavy weapons from the front lines of the conflict. The announcement came after defence officials reported that there had been no deaths in eastern Ukraine due to fighting in the past two days. It is the longest period without casualties since early January, when fighting again flared in eastern Ukraine.
The announcement has raised hopes that the ceasefire deal was finally being implemented, following days of fighting. Although the agreement was supposed to go into effect on February 15, intense violence continued near the strategic rail hub of Debaltseve. Ukrainian troops were ordered to withdraw from the city on February 18 after suffering heavy losses.