Guns silent as Ukraine truce holds

A Ukrainian soldier takes a break during a patrol on the border of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions near Debaltseve on September 5, 2014The guns remained silent over eastern Ukraine on Saturday as a truce between Ukraine and pro-Kremlin insurgents appeared to be holding despite concerns it will fail to halt the separatist drive in the east. The 12-point pact signed on Friday in the Belarussian capital Minsk is the first backed by both the Kremlin and Kiev since bands of Russian-speaking militias seized a string of government buildings across Ukraine’s industrial heartland in early April. Highly sceptical Western leaders nonetheless decided to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin over what they see as Moscow’s “aggression” in the former Soviet state. Western governments agreed to beef up sanctions on Russian state firms while NATO member states approved a rapid reaction force aimed at reassuring jittery eastern European states.

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