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Steinmeier: Ukraine Cease-Fire Largely Holding

  • RFE/RL

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says a new cease-fire declared in eastern Ukraine appears to be holding.

"It is still early, but I was encouraged to learn from the [OSCE] monitors that the cease-fire has been widely holding since midnight," Steinmeier said on September 15 during a visit to Kramatorsk, an eastern Ukrainian city controlled by the government.

"This shows that the sides can control the situation if there is political willingness."

Ukrainian Defense Ministry spokesman Oleksandr Motuzyanyk said separatists had violated the truce six times since midnight, while separatist officials were quoted as saying their forces came under mortar fire.

On September 14, the leaders of the Russia-backed separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions declared a unilateral cease-fire, and Steinmeier said the following day in Kyiv that Ukrainian officials agreed to observe the truce.

The sides earlier agreed to abide by a truce to coincide with the start of the school year on September 1, but it failed to stop the fighting that has killed more than 9,600 people since April 2014.

With reporting by AP, TASS, and Interfax