appears to hold
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.