Ukraine crisis and ceasefire
A member of the Ukrainian armed forces pilots a military vehicle as local residents walk with their cow on the road near Artemivsk, eastern Ukraine Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Shelling in eastern Ukraine continues hours after the much-awaited ceasefire came into force as rival sides accuse each other of truce violation.

The ceasefire, brokered by European leaders, came into effect on Sunday, 15 February midnight Kiev time.

"As of 02:30 [00:30 GMT] the shelling of the ATO [Kiev's anti-terrorist operation] forces continues. As of now, our positions have been shelled nine times," said Vladislav Seleznyov, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian forces.

Pro-Russian forces blamed Kiev's troops for the violations.

"The head of the Donetsk People's Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko has called an emergency meeting at which the current situation is being discussed," said Eduard Basurin, deputy chief of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.

"In the interest of preventing civilian deaths, precise fire is being deployed toward the enemy's positions. The units of the DPR armed forces are forced to open selective fire to suppress hostilities by Kiev nationalists and saboteurs," Basurin was quoted as saying by the pro-Russian Donetsk News Agency.

The latest skirmishes have taken place just hours after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered a ceasefire pulling back soldiers.

Speaking from the defence ministry just ahead of the ceasefire coming into effect, Poroshenko said the "world was holding its breath" for both sides to respect the terms.

He warned that Ukrainian forces would be quick to respond if the pro-Russian separatists pressed on with their offensive.

Meanwhile, Russia has sent its aid convoys carrying about 1,800 tonnes of relief material into Ukraine's Donbass region.

"The relief convoy was formed in the territory of the Rostov region over the past week. Cargoes were delivered from various parts of Russia," Oleg Voronov, deputy chief in Russia's Emergencies Ministry told TASS news agency.