A Ukrainian photojournalist has been killed in shelling in the east of the country, according to his newspaper. The death comes only hours after the Ukrainian military reported a drop in rebel attacks over recent days.
Photographer Serhiy Nikolayev was killed in shelling on Saturday near the village of Pesky, northwest of the city of Donetsk.
Kateryna Perepelitsa, an editor at the Segodnya newspaper, said Nikolayev had not been in the eastern part of the country on assignment, without wishing to elaborate. Few Ukrainian newspapers send their own staff to the troubled east to cover the conflict, although many photographers work there on a freelance basis.
The Ukrainian military had said earlier on Saturday that there had been a reduction in the number of attacks in the eastern regions, but conceded that there had been overnight GRAD missile attacks on the government-held town of Avdiivka, which is next to Pesky.
Military representatives also said the ceasefire had been largely observed around the government-held port of Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov and around the rebel-controlled city of Luhansk.
Kyiv is worried that both towns, Mariupol as a maritime hub and Luhansk as a major industrial center, could become targets for the rebels.
Request for peacekeepers
Ukraine had on Friday reported the first death of one of its servicemen in three days, demonstrating the fragility of the truce that was supposed to have taken effect on February 15.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Saturday he would submit a bill to parliament making a formal request for the deployment of United Nations peacekeepers to monitor the ceasefire.
Meanwhile, both the rebels and government troops claim they have been pulling back weapons from the front line, as according to the peace agreement signed on February 15. The conflict in Ukraine, which began last year after the February ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, has killed 5,600 people.