Ukraine shelling claims lives, sets houses ablaze

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Ukraine shelling claims lives, sets houses ablaze
A soldier's boot lies near a destroyed Ukrainian army tank near the village of Lebedynske, on the highway joining Mariupol and Novoazovsk, Ukraine, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. After four months of war, eastern Ukraine begins the first full day of an uncertain cease-fire. The truce agreement calls for an exchange of prisoners and establishment of humanitarian corridors, but how quickly those actions will begin is unclear. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A destroyed kindergarten building is seen in the village of Kominternove , Ukraine, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. After four months of war, eastern Ukraine begins the first full day of an uncertain cease-fire. The truce agreement calls for an exchange of prisoners and establishment of humanitarian corridors, but how quickly those actions will begin is unclear. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A burned Ukrainian army tank is seen near a destroyed kindergarten in the village of Kominternove, Ukraine, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. After four months of war, eastern Ukraine begins the first full day of an uncertain cease-fire. The truce agreement calls for an exchange of prisoners and establishment of humanitarian corridors, but how quickly those actions will begin is unclear. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
An abandoned Ukrainian army tank is seen in the village of Kominternove , Ukraine, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. After four months of war, eastern Ukraine begins the first full day of an uncertain cease-fire. The truce agreement calls for an exchange of prisoners and establishment of humanitarian corridors, but how quickly those actions will begin is unclear. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A destroyed Ukrainian army tank is seen near the village of Lebedynske, on the highway joining Mariupol and Novoazovsk, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. After four months of war, eastern Ukraine begins the first full day of an uncertain cease-fire. The truce agreement calls for an exchange of prisoners and establishment of humanitarian corridors, but how quickly those actions will begin is unclear.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A man looks at a destroyed Ukrainian army tank near the village of Lebedynske, on the highway joining Mariupol and Novoazovsk, Ukraine, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. After four months of war, eastern Ukraine begins the first full day of an uncertain cease-fire. The truce agreement calls for an exchange of prisoners and establishment of humanitarian corridors, but how quickly those actions will begin is unclear. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk, and Former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, left, speak to the media after talks on cease-fire in Ukraine in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. Ukraine and the Russian-backed rebels have signed a cease-fire deal that starts in less than two hours, a European official at the talks said Friday. (AP Photo)
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini, flanked by Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk, and Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, right, speaks to the media after talks on cease-fire in Ukraine in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. Ukraine and the Russian-backed rebels have signed a cease-fire deal that starts in less than two hours, a European official at the talks said Friday. (AP Photo)
Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk, attends talks on cease-fire in Ukraine in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. Talks expected to bring a much-anticipated cease-fire to the fighting in eastern Ukraine began Friday in the Belarusian capital even as the rebels kept pressing their offensive against a strategic port city. (AP Photo)
Alexander Zakharchenko, left, the leader of pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk, and Andrei Purgin, the leader of pro-Russian rebels in Luhansk, attend talks on cease-fire in Ukraine in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. Talks expected to bring a much-anticipated cease-fire to the fighting in eastern Ukraine began Friday in the Belarusian capital even as the rebels kept pressing their offensive against a strategic port city. (AP Photo)
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini, right, attends talks on a cease-fire in Ukraine in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. Talks expected to bring a much-anticipated cease-fire to the fighting in eastern Ukraine began Friday in the Belarusian capital even as the rebels kept pressing their offensive against a strategic port city. (AP Photo)
Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov arrives for talks on a cease-fire in Ukraine in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. Talks expected to bring a much-anticipated cease-fire to the fighting in eastern Ukraine began Friday in the Belarusian capital even as the rebels kept pressing their offensive against a strategic port city. (AP Photo)
A volunteer of the Ukrainian paramilitary Azov battalion waits on an armoured vehicle, as pro-Russian separatists fire heavy artillery, on the outskirts of the key southeastern port city of Mariupol, on September 5, 2014. NATO leaders are expected to announce a raft of fresh sanctions against Russia on Friday over its actions in Ukraine, although hopes remain that a ceasefire can be forged at peace talks in Minsk on the same day. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
Volunteer of the Ukrainian paramilitary Azov battalion wait on an armoured vehicle, as pro-Russian separatists fire heavy artillery, on the outskirts of the key southeastern port city of Mariupol, on September 5, 2014. NATO leaders are expected to announce a raft of fresh sanctions against Russia on Friday over its actions in Ukraine, although hopes remain that a ceasefire can be forged at peace talks in Minsk on the same day. The inscription on the Ukrainian flag (L) reads 'Defence of the city'. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
A volunteer of the Ukrainian paramilitary Azov battalion makes a victory sign while waiting on an armoured vehicle, as pro-Russian separatists fire heavy artillery, on the outskirts of the key southeastern port city of Mariupol, on September 5, 2014. NATO leaders are expected to announce a raft of fresh sanctions against Russia on Friday over its actions in Ukraine, although hopes remain that a ceasefire can be forged at peace talks in Minsk on the same day. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian army soldiers wait to go to the front line on an armoured vehicle as pro-Russian separatists fire heavy artillery, on the outskirts of the key southeastern port city of Mariupol, on September 5, 2014. NATO leaders are expected to announce a raft of fresh sanctions against Russia on Friday over its actions in Ukraine, although hopes remain that a ceasefire can be forged at peace talks in Minsk on the same day. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian army soldiers go to the front line on an armoured vehicle as pro-Russian separatists fire heavy artillery, on the outskirts of the key southeastern port city of Mariupol, on September 5, 2014. NATO leaders are expected to announce a raft of fresh sanctions against Russia on Friday over its actions in Ukraine, although hopes remain that a ceasefire can be forged at peace talks in Minsk on the same day. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian army soldiers wait to go to the front line on an armoured vehicle as pro-Russian separatists fire heavy artillery, on the outskirts of the key southeastern port city of Mariupol, on September 5, 2014. NATO leaders are expected to announce a raft of fresh sanctions against Russia on Friday over its actions in Ukraine, although hopes remain that a ceasefire can be forged at peace talks in Minsk on the same day. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian army soldiers go to the front line on an armoured vehicle as pro-Russian separatists fire heavy artillery, on the outskirts of the key southeastern port city of Mariupol, on September 5, 2014. NATO leaders are expected to announce a raft of fresh sanctions against Russia on Friday over its actions in Ukraine, although hopes remain that a ceasefire can be forged at peace talks in Minsk on the same day. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian army soldiers go to the front line on an armoured vehicle as pro-Russian separatists fire heavy artillery, on the outskirts of the key southeastern port city of Mariupol, on September 5, 2014. NATO leaders are expected to announce a raft of fresh sanctions against Russia on Friday over its actions in Ukraine, although hopes remain that a ceasefire can be forged at peace talks in Minsk on the same day. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)
Former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, center, arrives for talks on a cease-fire in Ukraine in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. Talks expected to bring a much-anticipated cease-fire to the fighting in eastern Ukraine began Friday in the Belarusian capital even as the rebels kept pressing their offensive against a strategic port city. (AP Photo)
Former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, right, arrives for talks on a cease-fire in Ukraine in Minsk, Belarus, Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. Talks expected to bring a much-anticipated cease-fire to the fighting in eastern Ukraine began Friday in the Belarusian capital even as the rebels kept pressing their offensive against a strategic port city. (AP Photo)
A destroyed Ukrainian army tank is seen near the village of Lebedynske, on the highway joining Mariupol and Novoazovsk, Ukraine, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. After four months of war, eastern Ukraine begins the first full day of an uncertain cease-fire. The truce agreement calls for an exchange of prisoners and establishment of humanitarian corridors, but how quickly those actions will begin is unclear. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A soldier of the Ukrainian army sits on a tank in the port city of Mariupol, southeastern Ukraine, Friday, Sept. 5, 2014. The Ukrainian president declared a cease-fire Friday to end nearly five months of fighting in the nation's east after his representatives reached a deal with the Russian-backed rebels at peace talks in Minsk. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
Lorries, part of a Russian humanitarian convoy, cross the Ukrainian border at the Donets'k-Izvarino custom control checkpoint as Ukrainian refugees look at them on September 13, 2014. The first 35 vehicles in a second Russian aid convoy heading for rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine have crossed the border, Russian news agencies reported. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI VENYAVSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI VENYAVSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Lorries, part of a Russian humanitarian convoy, cross the Ukrainian border at the Donets'k-Izvarino custom control checkpoint as Ukrainian refugees look at them on September 13, 2014. The first 35 vehicles in a second Russian aid convoy heading for rebel-controlled eastern Ukraine have crossed the border, Russian news agencies reported. AFP PHOTO / SERGEI VENYAVSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI VENYAVSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
ZAPORIZHIA, UKRAINE - SEPTEMBER 12: Thousands of Ukrainians gather to attend 'Peace March' demanding peace in Eastern Ukraine and supporting Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko's plan for peace, in Zaporizhia, Ukraine on September 12, 2104. (Photo by Maksim Scherbina/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ZAPORIZHIA, UKRAINE - SEPTEMBER 12: Thousands of Ukrainians gather to attend 'Peace March' demanding peace in Eastern Ukraine and supporting Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko's plan for peace, in Zaporizhia, Ukraine on September 12, 2104. (Photo by Maksim Scherbina/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
KIEV, UKRAINE - SEPTEMBER 12: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (2nd L) meets with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (2nd R) and European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule (3rd R) in Kiev, Ukraine, on September 12, 2014. Barroso and Fule are in Kiev to attend the 11th Yalta European Strategy Annual Meeting taking place between September 11 and 13. (Photo by Bahadir Vanli/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ZAPORIZHIA, UKRAINE - SEPTEMBER 12: Thousands of Ukrainians gather to attend 'Peace March' demanding peace in Eastern Ukraine and supporting Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko's plan for peace, in Zaporizhia, Ukraine on September 12, 2104. (Photo by Maksim Scherbina/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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BY MSTYSLAV CHERNOV

SPARTAK, Ukraine (AP) - Clashes broke out Sunday outside the main rebel-held city in eastern Ukraine, throwing the freshly forged cease-fire agreement between government troops and Russian-backed separatists into further doubt.

At least two houses blazed in the rural village of Spartak, which lies just north of Donetsk and adjacent to the airport, after they were hit by fire. A man whose house was struck by a shell said rebels had fired from a spot nearby, which appeared to have provoked a retaliatory attack from Ukrainian government troops. This pattern has been regularly observed in the nearly five-month-long military confrontation.

A group of rebel fighters in the village danced and drank Sunday morning in celebration after what they said was a successful assault on a Ukrainian military encampment in the vicinity. One said their group had captured eight government troops, although none of these captives could be seen.

The fighter, who provided only the nom de guerre Khokhol, freely acknowledged that the cease-fire was not being respected by either side.

"There was mortar shelling around 20 minutes ago here in Spartak," he said. "There is no cease-fire for anyone."

The truce signed on Friday appeared to be holding for much of the following day, but was shattered late Saturday by shelling on the outskirts of the southeastern port town of Mariupol, where Ukrainian troops retain defensive lines against the rebels. The city council said Sunday that one civilian was killed there and a serviceman wounded.

The volunteer pro-government Azov Battalion said on Facebook that their positions were also hit by Grad rockets, but did not give details.

Mariupol is located on the coast of the Sea of Azov, 115 kilometers (70 miles) south of Donetsk. Rebels recently opened a new front on the coast, leading to fears that they were trying to secure a land corridor between Russia and the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in March.

Amnesty International on Sunday condemned all those engaged in the grinding conflict that according to U.N. estimates has claimed at least 2,600 civilian lives and forced hundreds of thousands out of their homes.

"All sides in this conflict have shown disregard for civilian lives and are blatantly violating their international obligations," Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty said in a statement.

Blasts powerful enough to be heard in downtown Donetsk could be heard coming from the direction of the airport early Sunday morning. The terminal, which has now been rendered little more than a burned-out husk, has been under the control of government troops since May and has come under unremitting attacks from Russian-backed separatist forces since then.

A rebel statement said Ukrainian forces fired on their positions in six locations on Saturday, including near the Donetsk airport, and several rebels were killed.

In nearby Spartak, resident Anastasia Ivanusenko, who has moved to Donetsk to escape the most intense fighting, learned her house had been destroyed Sunday as she was coming to pick up some basic items for her child.

"I have a little baby and we are temporarily living in a dormitory. We wanted to get the stroller, some warm clothes for the child," she said, quietly sobbing on a bench across the road from her burning home. "There was no way to get into the house."

Ukraine, Russia, the Kremlin-backed separatists and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe signed the cease-fire deal in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, on Friday evening in an effort to end the bloodshed. The negotiators agreed on the withdrawal of all heavy weaponry, the release of all prisoners and the delivery of humanitarian aid to devastated cities in eastern Ukraine.

The 12-point agreement, published Sunday by the OSCE, also obliges Kiev to give greater powers to the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk regions and calls for local elections to be held in those Russian-speaking regions.

Western leaders voiced skepticism over Russia's commitment to the deal. A previous 10-day cease-fire, which each side repeatedly accused the other of violating, yielded few results at the negotiating table.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's office on Saturday said he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had spoken by telephone and discussed steps "for giving the cease-fire a stable character." But, it said, both leaders assessed the cease-fire as having been "fulfilled as a whole."

Echoing similar allegations by the Ukrainian government and NATO, Amnesty International said that it has evidence that Moscow is fueling the conflict through direct support for separatist fighters. In making its case, the group presented satellite images appearing to show Russian weaponry being brought into Ukraine.

"These satellite images, coupled with reports of Russian troops captured inside Ukraine and eyewitness accounts of Russian troops and military vehicles rolling across the border, leave no doubt that this is now an international armed conflict," said Shetty, who is set to visit Kiev and Moscow in the coming days.

Amnesty also said that the Ukrainian government has subject residential areas to heavy and indiscriminate shelling.

The group said both pro-government and separatist militia groups had abducted and beaten people suspected of aiding their opponents.

____

Peter Leonard in Donetsk, Ukraine, and Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.

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