The best a European official interviewed by the BBC could come up Sunday was to say the violence did not appear to be as bad as before the truce that was to have begun Friday evening.
The Guardian headline said: “Ukraine Cease-Fire Breached,” the BBC said
: “Ukraine truce shaken by new shelling.”
As has often been the case Moscow sought to direct the reporting in a direction favorable to Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the absence of hard new information
Russian TV and Ria Novosti claimed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has confirmed that the Ukraine is willing to decentralize the country to stop the Russian-backed war in the east. There was no support on various web sites of those concerned in the process, including the OSCE and the Kiev government. The OSCE did not return phone calls or emails.
As described by Russian media, the agreement appears very close to dismembering the country. It also would require the holding special elections soon to provide autonomy for the eastern areas held by Russian-backed forces.
There have been reports of fresh fighting near Mariupol, a key city in Moscow’s effort to provide land access to Crimea. Government forces there were being shelled by rebels, journalists reported.
Russian TV later Sunday admitted there had been reports of new fighting. The Moscow Times, which claims to be independent from the Kremlin, said the fighting was threatening the deal.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko repeatly said his country would not hand over the east to Russia, which is what a pullback demanded by Putin would mean.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
told media on Friday that the country would not agree to hand over control of its territory to Russian-controlled agents. He also said his forces would not pull back from contested areas because they all remain part of the Ukraine.