Ukraine at a 'crossroads': OSCE

The OSCE's envoy to Ukraine has warned the country still faces the threat of all-out war. (AAP)

Ukraine still faces all-out war, despite the encouraging signs of a ceasefire taking hold, the OSCE's envoy to Ukraine has told the UN Security Council.

The OSCE's envoy to Ukraine has warned while there are encouraging signs of a ceasefire taking hold in east Ukraine, the country still faces the threat of all-out war.

Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini told the UN Security Council on Friday that fighting was subsiding in east Ukraine, prisoners had been released and the withdrawal of heavy weapons had begun.

But she emphasised that the situation remained volatile and recent "encouraging signs" could be reversed.

"We seem to be at the crossroads, where we are facing the risk of a further escalation of the conflict or where common sense, responsibility, and humanity shall prevail and we may be able to walk on the road to peace," Tagliavani told the 15-member council.

Three Ukrainian soldiers were killed in clashes between Kiev's forces and pro-Russian rebels on Friday, after two days in which no deaths were reported.

"Unless the guns fall silent there will be no hope for stabilising the situation let alone for peace," Tagliavini told the council by video link.

"We know that we are far away from this goal."

The envoy said providing humanitarian aid to the one million people displaced from the conflict would be a priority once the ceasefire is in place.

The council was holding its first meeting since it endorsed the ceasefire deal reached in Minsk on February 12 between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Ukraine, France and Germany.

The top UN body has held some 30 meetings on the conflict in Ukraine that has left close to 5,800 dead since the war began in April.

Source AAP

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch