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.”

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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.”