Donetsk, January 17 - DAN. Ukrainian army units shelled Donetsk outskirts several hours before the Contact Group meeting in Minsk, the Donetsk People’s Republic office at the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination said on Thursday.

“In the morning, Ukrainian forces delivered two strikes at the Trudovskaya Colliery settlement in western Donetsk. Kiev’s army fired two 82mm mortar rounds and three grenade launcher rounds in the period from 06:30 till 08:05,” the JCCC said.

“At 09:05, Ukrainian infantry fighting vehicles BTR-2 fired 40 rounds at the Volvo Centre area in northern Donetsk. Large calibre machine guns and small arms were also used,” it added.

On Thursday, the Contact Group for a peaceful settlement of the Donbass situation will hold its first meeting in Minsk this year.

Earlier reports said that Ukrainian forces violated the ceasefire 12 times over the past 24 hours firing more than 150 rounds of ammunition at DPR areas. A house burnt down in the Zhabichevo settlement north of Donetsk as a result of shelling.*jk