Pro-Russian rebels, Ukraine defence forces accuse each other of breaking ceasefire

Pro-Russian separatists stand guard on a street outside a destroyed building in the eastern Ukrainian town of Ilovaysk on Sept 5, 2014. Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine on Saturday, Sept 6, accused Kiev's forces of breaking a ceasefire just hours a
Pro-Russian separatists stand guard on a street outside a destroyed building in the eastern Ukrainian town of Ilovaysk on Sept 5, 2014. Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine on Saturday, Sept 6, accused Kiev's forces of breaking a ceasefire just hours after it was agreed and vowed to pursue their independence drive in the east. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

DONETSK, Ukraine (AFP) - Pro-Russian rebels and defence officials in Ukraine on Saturday accused each other of breaking a ceasefire signed by the two sides in a bid to halt nearly five months of bloodshed.

The rebels accused Kiev's forces of breaking the ceasefire just hours after it was agreed, and vowed to pursue their independence drive in the east.

A leading member of the Parliament established by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic said Ukrainian units had launched several missiles towards rebel positions after the truce went into effect at 6pm on Friday.

In turn, a top Ukrainian defence official accused pro-Russian insurgents of violating the ceasefire. “We have recorded a series of provocations by the rebels. They fired on our anti-terrorism units on 28 occasions (on Friday), with 10 of those coming after the ceasefire,” National Security and Defence Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko told reporters.