Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko confirmed today that martial law will be imposed throughout Ukraine if the latest ceasefire fails. The president has vowed to introduce the necessary legislation if the peace initiative does not succeed, according to the Ukrainian news agency
The president has vowed to introduce the necessary legislation if the peace initiative does not succeed, according to the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN.
"Even before Minsk, during a cabinet ministers meeting I warned that we would need to take harsh but necessary decisions on introduction of the martial law if there was no peace. In this case martial law would be introduced not only in Donetsk and Luhansk, but all over the country," he said. The ceasefire between Kiev's troops and separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine is set to start at midnight local time on February 15 (February 14, 22:00 GMT).
The ceasefire between Kiev's troops and separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine is set to start at midnight local time on February 15 (14 February, 10pm GMT).
Earlier on Saturday, Poroshenko also stated he would hold telephone discussions with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama prior to the ceasefire.
The ceasefire was the key agreement from the talks in the Belarus capital of Minsk which took place on Wednesday, 11 February, between the leaders of Ukraine, France, Germany and Russia.
The deal was agreed by the Contact Group on Ukraine, which included envoys from Moscow, Kiev, the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The ceasefire is the first test of the peace plan.
However, on Friday Poroshenko said that the ongoing bombardment of civilians in eastern Ukraine by the rebels was already undermining the plan. And with the separatists striving today to acquire more territory and Kiev's troops strongly resisting , there are doubts about whether either side will honour the truce.
The US said it believed that Russia was continuing to move heavy weapons into Ukraine ahead of the ceasefire and that more are on the way.
"This is clearly not in the spirit of this week's agreement," said US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki. She said that the Russian military were using artillery and multiple rocket launchers to shell Ukrainian positions.
The UN Security Council is due to meet in an emergency session on Sunday, 15 February, to try to bolster the ceasefire deal.
Ukraine Today has reported that the leader of Donetsk People's Republic (DNR), Alexander Zakharchenko, has said that his forces will abide by the ceasefire. But they would continue fighting in the area around the city of Debaltseve, in east Ukraine, because "Nothing is said about Debaltseve in Minsk peace deal."
Debaltseve is in an area controlled by the pro-Russian rebel forces, but has remained under control of the Ukraine government.