UN chief urges Ukraine and separatists to honor cease-fire

UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is welcoming a new cease-fire agreement between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists in the country's east and urging all parties to honor it.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday that Guterres is greatly concerned about "the fate of the civilian population" and hopes the agreement will lead to progress on security and economic, humanitarian and political issues.

The agreement announced by Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe calls for adherence to the cease-fire and withdrawal of heavy weapons by Saturday. It also calls for military disengagement in Stanytsia Luhanska by Thursday.

A 2015 peace deal brokered by France and Germany has helped reduce the scale of fighting, but violence has continued while attempts to broker a political settlement have failed.