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Ukraine Says Shelling in East Halts for First Time in 18 Months

  • Poroshenko sees grounds for `cautious optimism' on truce
  • Drop in violence is latest sign of efforts to honor Minsk pact

Ukraine said shelling in its eastern conflict zone stopped for the first time in 18 months, raising hopes that a recent truce and renewed diplomatic push will bring peace.

Recent talks that included European leaders and Russia “strengthened my feelings of cautious optimism,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Friday in a speech in Kiev. “The cease-fire is in place for almost two weeks and is not a dream anymore.”