A man walks past burnt military trucks that local said belonged to Ukrainian forces, outside the village of Mnogopolye, in southeast from Donetsk September 5, 2014. (REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov)
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Ukraine and pro-Kremlin insurgents appeared to be observing a truce Saturday that could stem five months of bloodshed but still failed to head off fresh Western sanctions against Russia and is unlikely to quell the separatist drive in the east.The 12-point pact signed Friday in the Belarussian capital Minsk is the first to be 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. With the rebels winning notable gains in recent days and Russia outwardly defiant over the impact of earlier sanctions there was little sign the cease-fire would put an end to the eastern insurgency.The peace blueprint -- its initial terms unveiled by Putin this week after telephone talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko -- could leave separatists in effective control of a region that accounts for one-sixth of Ukraine's population and a quarter of its exports.NATO says the rebels were bolstered by heavily armed elite forces from Russia.
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