NATO's senior military commander says the two-week-old cease-fire between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists exists "in name only," noting that the flow of weapons and fighters across the border has made it difficult to assess the situation from one day to the next.
U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, told a news conference following a meeting with NATO military chiefs in Vilnius, Lithuania, that he is hopeful about Saturday's announced agreement for creation of a buffer zone between Ukrainian and pro-Russian forces, but firmly placed the blame on Russia for the continuing conflict.
"So the situation in Ukraine is not good right now," he told reporters. "Basically we have a cease-fire in name only."
"The number of events, and the number of rounds fired and the artillery used across the past few days match some of the pre-ceasefire levels,"he said. "The ceasefire is still there in name, but what is happening on the ground is quite a different story."
On Sunday, Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said the pro-Russian separatists and Russian troops were continuing to target the positions of government forces, which resulted in the deaths of two soldiers and "defensive" fire killed 40 separatist fighters.