Two civilians killed after start of Ukraine ceasefire

KIEV (AFP) - Two civilians were killed by rockets fired by rebels shortly after the start of a ceasefire in east Ukraine on Sunday, a pro-Kiev official said, but most of the frontline had fallen silent.

An elderly man and woman died after Grad missile fire hit the town of Popasna in the Lugansk region some 20 minutes after the truce came into force at 2200 GMT on Saturday, local governor Gennadiy Moskal said.

The firing came from an area that Kiev says is under the command of a renegade group of Cossack fighters who insist they will not obey rebel chief commands to cease fire.

Ukraine's military said that its forces had been fired at 10 times overnight but that there had been no incidents reported since 3.00am local time (0100 GMT).

However, they reported that rebels were still trying to occupy the village of Chornuhine around the key strategic government-held town of Debaltseve.

Debaltseve is seen as the more likely potential flashpoint for violence, as pro-Russian rebels battled fiercely to surround Ukranian forces in the hours leading up to the truce.