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Ukraine ceasefire deal reached after marathon Minsk talks
By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
(CNN)Marathon peace talks aimed at ending the bloody crisis in eastern Ukraine concluded Thursday in a breakthrough: A ceasefire that's due to start Sunday and an agreement for both sides to pull back heavy weapons.
If the ceasefire holds -- which is far from certain -- it could end a 10-month conflict that has claimed more than 5,000 lives, many of them civilians, and plunged East-West relations to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War.
"We had just two options: bad, and worse. So we decided at this particular period of time to get the bad option. Probably this option will save the lives of Ukrainian soldiers, and I hope this option will save lives of Ukrainian civilians, of innocent people, who are under a constant shelling of Russian-led terrorists," Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said.
"It's better to have this new deal rather than not to have (it). But we do not trust any words or any papers. We are to trust only actions and deeds," he said.
The White House issued a statement with a tone of guarded optimism. "The United States welcomes the agreement reached today in Minsk. ..." it said. "The agreement represents a potentially significant step toward a peaceful resolution of the conflict and the restoration of Ukraine's sovereignty."