As Kiev accuses rebels of opening rocket and artillery fire on villages in the southeast, residents in the north burn an effigy of Russia's Putin. Mana Rabiee reports.
+++RESENDING VIDEO TO INCLUDE THE ON SCREEN COURTESY+++ In the northern Ukrainian city of Sumy, activists burn an effigy of Russian President Vladimir Putin -- … to protest his annexation of Ukraine's Crimea last year. The protest coincides with an Orthodox tradition -- just before Lent - that celebrates the passage of winter and the renewal of spring…. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) ACTIVIST, MYKOLA KARPENKO, SAYING: "This is a symbol of the fact that we survived the winter, a bloody winter." But the effigy burning also comes as Ukraine's government accuses rebels of opening fire on villages in the southeast of the country -- with rockets and artillery. It all but buries a week-old ceasefire -- that in the strategic eastern city of Debaltseve was 'dead on arrival' anyway. About a half hour's drive north of Debaltseve, Ukrainian soldiers who were forced to abandon the city in defeat have repositioned themselves here -- in the government controlled town of Artemevisk. They have little to do but wait for fresh orders from Kiev... (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) UKRAINIAN SOLDIER, STAS, SAYING: "So many lives have been lost for Debaltseve. Did it lead to any agreement? To nothing. Everyday we hear, we see on the internet only chit-chat, nothing else." What KIEV and its Western allies are also 'hearing' are reports that rebels -- backed by Russian troops -- are planning an advance... …an advance deeper into Ukrainian territory that the Kremlin - which denies aiding its militant sympathizers in Ukraine - now calls "New Russia".