DONETSK, Ukraine — Russian President Vladimir Putin has backed Ukraine’s cease-fire plan and appealed to both sides to halt all military operations.

A Kremlin statement Saturday says “the president of Russia calls on the opposing sides to halt any military activities and sit down at the negotiating table.”

The statement said Putin supported Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s decision to order Ukrainian troops to observe a unilateral cease-fire starting Friday night.

Poroshenko says the weeklong cease-fire is the first step in a peace plan that would include an amnesty for pro-Russian separatist fighters.

Putin said however that without action directed at starting talks, the plan was “not viable and unrealistic.”