Europe

Both sides report violations of cease-fire in Ukraine

  • German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, right, listens French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault during their meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. French and German foreign ministers are visiting Ukraine to shore up a 2015 peace deal that has floundered amid continuing fighting in eastern Ukraine.  (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, right, listens French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault during their meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. French and German foreign ministers are visiting Ukraine to shore up a 2015 peace deal that has floundered amid continuing fighting in eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)  (The Associated Press)

  • Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, centre, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, right, and French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault, pose for photo ahead their meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

    Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, centre, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, right, and French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development Jean-Marc Ayrault, pose for photo ahead their meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)  (The Associated Press)

  • French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, second right front, and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, center, stand in front of a bridge that was destroyed by shelling during the battle for Slovyansk in summer 2014, in Seleznivka village, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. (Michael Rothbart/Photo via AP)

    French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, second right front, and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, center, stand in front of a bridge that was destroyed by shelling during the battle for Slovyansk in summer 2014, in Seleznivka village, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016. (Michael Rothbart/Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Separatist rebels and government troops are both reporting violations of a cease-fire that was supposed to begin in eastern Ukraine at midnight on Wednesday.

Rebels on Tuesday declared a unilateral cease-fire, and the visiting German foreign minister said the following day Ukraine had also agreed to observe the truce.

Russian state television on Thursday quoted rebel officials as saying their forces came under mortar fire earlier that day. Ukrainian army spokesman Ivan Arefyev said that fighting subsided at midnight but the rebels used small arms and hand grenades in the morning, the Interfax news agency said.

The foreign ministers of France and Germany, key mediators in the Ukrainian peace process, met with the Ukrainian president on Wednesday and are expected to travel to the east on Thursday.