'Shaky' Ukraine accord gets mixed reaction

- Stocks rise, but analysts express concern over whether agreement will work.

ANKARA (AA) - The agreement reached in Minsk to halt the conflict in Ukraine has received a mixed reaction from experts.

Analysts said on Thursday that the cease-fire was an achievement, but there was concern about whether it would work in practice.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters that the agreement envisages a cease-fire beginning at midnight on Sunday, special status being granted for Ukraine's pro-Russian separatist regions and provisions to address border concerns and humanitarian issues.

The Stoxx Europe 600 index traded 0.8 percent higher shortly after the announcement at about 0930GMT.

In Germany, for whom Russia is an important trading partner, the DAX index added 1.6 percent.

London's FTSE 100 index rose 0.36 percent, breaking a four-day losing streak, while U.S. stock futures showed a 0.5 percent gain at the open and major exchanges all opened higher.


- 'Immense challenges'


But there was concern among political and financial analysts that the accord might not be effective.

For now, fighting is still raging on all fronts in eastern Ukraine.

Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and 21 injured in the 24 hours before the deal was reached.

Russian tanks, rocket launchers and armored personnel carriers had also crossed the border from Russia into Ukraine overnight, a spokesman for the National Defense and Security Council of Ukraine said.

An analyst at the London-based political science research group Oxford Analytica said in a note the accord was “shaky”. 

The note stated: "Ukraine’s challenges will remain immense. Mistrust and miscalculation increase the risk of heavy fighting in coming days."

"Separatist forces may look to increase territorial gains before the February 15 cease-fire begins. Donbas risks becoming another frozen conflict."


- 'No impact'


Political analyst Paul A. Goble at the Institute of World Politics agreed, saying: "I think it serves Putin's purposes by allowing him to portray himself as a peacemaker even as the Donbas radicals continue their Moscow-backed aggression. 

"I don't think it will last long or work well - the Ukrainians will fight even if the West doesn't help them."

Goble was also concerned that the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics – the regions in occupied eastern Ukraine -- had reportedly refused to sign the accord.

"Putin is presenting himself in a way the West will like, and showing that what he has signed will have no impact on what he continues to do," he said.

Ukraine’s currency weakened and bonds declined amid concern the latest accord will fail to end the violence in the country’s east even after the International Monetary Fund announced a $40 billion bailout.

The Ukrainian hryvnia fell 2.7 percent to 26.700 per dollar.


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