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World

Reaction To Ukraine Cease-Fire Is Muted

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The fighting in Ukraine is set to end this Sunday when a cease-fire goes into effect. But today, people in the thick of the conflict along Ukraine's eastern border are still dying. We reached two women in Ukraine soon after the cease-fire was announced, and neither expects it to last long.

KATERINA MALAFEEVA: One to three days, maximum.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

That's Katerina Malafeeva (ph), who lives in the city of Donetsk and assists journalists there. She has seen shelling destroy houses as well as lives.

MALAFEEVA: Many children live in the basement, in bombproof shelters. They don't go to school.

GREENE: Malafeeva says, everyone wants to believe in peace, but because an earlier truce failed, they're not exactly optimistic.

MALAFEEVA: We got used to shelling. We go to the bed with shelling. We hear it during night, and we wake up, also, hearing shelling. For me, I think it will be weird if it will be quiet in the city.

MONTAGNE: In Ukraine's capital, Kiev, Yule Kubanova (ph), a businesswoman, is watching events back home in Donetsk. She left for a vacation last fall and has not been able to return there because of the fighting.

YULE KUBANOVA: The day my mom called me and said that while you were sleeping, again, Donetsk was under the shellings. Despite I'm living in Kiev, all my thoughts about Donetsk.

MONTAGNE: Kubanova says, after the peace agreement, I want to hope, but I don't, really.

GREENE: In fact, things are so bad back home in Donetsk, she sees a silver lining being stuck in Kiev, away from her loved ones.

KUBANOVA: If my relatives need, you know - they also will be forced from how to, I don't know, escape - to flee from Donetsk, at least we have a (laughter) - I have a place here in Kiev just as a shelter for them.

MONTAGNE: Two reactions from Ukraine to the cease-fire agreed to in Minsk, Belarus, yesterday. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.