Ukraine Announces Easter Truce for the Holiday Weekend
The Ukrainian government announced an Easter truce for April 19 and 20. Kiev promised not to attack pro-Russian forces during the holiday weekend.
The Foreign Ministry promised "the suspension of the active phase of the anti-terrorist operation" among a list of government initiatives to defuse the crisis issued late on Friday. A spokeswoman for the SBU state security service said on Saturday the suspension was "linked to the implementation of the Geneva agreement and the Easter holidays".
"The anti-terrorist operation was put on hold for the Easter time and we will be not using force against them at this moment," Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia was quoted on Saturday as saying by Britain's BBC.
The Ukranian anti-terrorist operation will continue on Monday if the protesters do not leave the government buildings in accordance with the Geneva Agreement signed by the US, European Union, Ukraine, and Russia. On Friday, Denis Pushilin, the self-proclaimed mayor of the Donetsk People’s Republic, said the protesters will not vacate any buildings until the government in Kiev leave their buildings. He claimed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and interim President Oleksandry Turchynov illegally occupy their positions. However, Ukraine’s parliament ousted Russia-backed president Viktor Yanukovych on February 22 after he stepped aside and left Kiev for Moscow.
The protesters at Maidan in Independence Square in Kyiv also said they will not leave their posts. Some of them have been there since protests started in late November. The people at the square said they will not leave, and Deshchytsia said the agreement does not cover the Maidan protests because it is not an illegal occupation.
Late Friday night, Ukraine’s Zhytomyr Armored Brigade recaptured two airborne combat vehicles in Kramatorsk. According to military expert Dmitry Tymchuk, there were no fatalities and just one injury. A pro-Russian protester was injured.