LEBEDINSKOYE, Ukraine — The cease-fire between the Ukrainian government and Russian-backed separatists held across the embattled southeast on Saturday, but some violations, including one significant one, were reported, and soldiers and civilians who had been enduring life on the front lines just a day earlier doubted that the relative calm would prevail after five months of warfare.
In this southern hamlet, one family expressed its lack of confidence by bundling children and belongings into a car and fleeing. Like others, they heard explosions in the distance and believed rumors that barrages that had killed a woman and two children here Friday would soon resume.
On the main road, Ukrainian soldiers still manned checkpoints, checking cars and documents. A reconnaissance unit stopped on a hill to scout for enemy movement.
“It’s too early to relax,” one soldier said.
Across Ukraine, the possibility that the war might end had yet to gain traction. The fact that the government failed to release the text of the cease-fire agreement announced by negotiators in Minsk, Belarus, on Friday only added to people’s worries.
Overnight Saturday, artillery strikes were heard on the edge of Mariupol, which Ukrainian forces have been in danger of losing, according to reporters in the city.
Despite assurances from President Petro Poroshenko that the agreement would keep Ukraine whole, there was concern that Russia, after using its army to deal a military blow against Ukrainian troops, was dictating terms that would keep a significant portion of the country under its sway. It will largely be up to Poroshenko to rapidly convince Ukrainians that negotiating with the separatists was their best choice.
“Ukrainian public opinion is not ready for a peace that does not reflect Ukrainian aspirations,” said Mykhailo Minakov, a professor at the University of Kiev-Mohyla Academy and a civil rights activist. “They are not ready to respect an agreement that would respond to the demands of the separatists or the Russians.”