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Poroshenko Confirms Deescalation In Progress

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in a television interview that the deescalation process in the eastern part of his country is taking hold.

Appearing on the 1+1 television channel on March 13, Poroshenko said, "We have not had military losses for several days…this is a clear indication of a gradual deescalation."

Poroshenko's comments come one month after a new truce deal was agreed to in Minsk by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and France, calling on Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to cease fire and withdraw heavy weapons from the line of conflict.

Poroshenko warned that if fighting started again, Ukraine has signed contracts to receive lethal weapons from 11 European countries.

He did not say which countries.

Despite Poroshenko's remarks on deescalation, Ukrainian news agency UNIAN reported that government forces said they came under shell fire near the village of Peski and Avdeevka, near the separatist-held Donetsk region.

UNIAN also reported Ukrainian forces near Mariupol were attacked by "Russian terrorist groups" near the town of Shirokino.

Russian news agencies reported the so-called Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) claimed Ukrainian forces were shelling DNR forces near Shirokino.

Based on reporting by UNIAN, TASS, and Interfax

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