- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Obama administration on Thursday praised a deal to potentially end the violence in eastern Ukraine but also expressed skepticism that Moscow will live up to the terms of the agreement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said a cease-fire between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian forces will go into effect Sunday. The agreement comes after lengthy diplomatic meetings between the two sides, along with Germany and France, which facilitated the negotiations.

While some details have yet to be hammered out, the U.S. is expressing cautious optimism and wants to see Mr. Putin follow his words with actions, especially since Russia has failed to abide by previous cease-fire deals.

“This agreement must now be followed by immediate, concrete steps to fulfill the commitments by all parties. The cease-fire must be implemented and honored. Heavy weapons must be withdrawn from the conflict zone, and Russia must end its support for the separatists and withdraw its soldiers and military equipment from eastern Ukraine,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement. “The true test of today’s accord will be in its full and unambiguous implementation, including the durable end of hostilities and the restoration of Ukrainian control over its border with Russia.”

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