ap­pears to hold

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — The pres­i­dents of Ukraine and Rus­sia on Satur­day said the cease-fire be­tween Ukrainian forces and Rus­sian-backed rebels was mostly hold­ing, but the truce still ap­peared frag­ile in its first full day as both sides of the con­flict claimed vi­o­la­tions.

A state­ment from Ukrainian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko’s of­fice said he and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin dis­cussed steps “for giv­ing the cease-fire a sta­ble character” in a tele­phone con­ver­sa­tion Satur­day.

But, it said, both lead­ers as­sessed the cease-fire as hav­ing been “ful­filled as a whole.” A sep­a­rate Krem­lin state­ment about the call said “There was a mu­tual sat­is­fac­tion with the fact that the sides of the con­flict were over­all ob­serv­ing the cease-fire regime.”

Col. An­driy Ly­senko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s na­tional se­cu­rity coun­cil, told re­porters that rebels had fired at Ukrainian forces on 10 oc­ca­sions Fri­day night after the cease-fire was to take ef­fect.

In Donetsk, the largest city con­trolled by the Rus­sian-backed sep­a­ratists, the night passed qui­etly — a rar­ity after sev­eral months of daily shelling in res­i­den­tial ar­eas. But Alexan­der Zakharchenko, the top separatist leader from Donetsk, told the Rus­sian news agency RIA Novosti that the cease-fire had been vi­o­lated with two rounds of shelling in the town of Amvrosi­ivka, about 50 kilo­me­ters (30 miles) south­east of Donetsk.

“At this time the cease-fire agree­ment is not be­ing fully ob­served,” he said. He didn’t say when the sup­posed breach was to have oc­curred.

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