Russia-Ukraine Cease-fire Holds Through First Night

Friday's cease-fire agreement between Russia and Ukraine appears to hold for its first night, but the parties involved think it's just a matter of time before fighting breaks out again.

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The cease-fire struck between Russia and Ukraine Friday appeared to be holding on Saturday, despite widespread skepticism that it would last and Russian separatist claims that Ukraine had violated the agreement.

National Guard Commander Stepan Poltorak told the Interfax news agency Saturday that although some shooting took place about 45 minutes after the cease-fire, "as of this morning there haven't been any violations, either from our side, of course, or from the terrorists."

However, the pro-Russian separatists view that first 45 minutes as a violation.

"At this time the cease-fire agreement is not being fully observed," Alexander Zakharchenko, the top separatist leader from Donetsk, told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

​The announcement of the cease-fire on Friday came as somewhat of a surprise to many observers, given the general distrust between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

"The highest value is human life," Poroshenko said in a statement Friday. We must do everything possible and impossible to terminate bloodshed and put an end to people's suffering."

Western leaders, including President Barack Obama, expressed their skepticism. "We are hopeful, but based on past experience also skeptical that in fact the separatists will follow through and that Russia will stop violating Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Obama. "It has to be tested."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.