Ukraine agrees on ceasefire

An agreement has been brokered in Minsk to stop hostilities in Ukraine from Sunday. The deal was reached after marathon talks between the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, and signed by the Ukrainian rebels.

“I believe we agreed on a big deal. We agreed to a ceasefire starting at 00:00 on February 15,” Russian President Vladimir Putin told the media after the talks were finished.

“The main thing achieved is that from Saturday into Sunday there should be declared – without any conditions at all – a general ceasefire,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told journalists in a separate statement.

A compromise decision was taken over the disengagement line, which was the biggest stumbling block in the negotiation. According to the document, Kiev’s troops would pull back heavy weapons from the current frontline. The rebels would pull back from the line as it existed in September, when the previous ceasefire agreement was signed.

The security zone separating the warring parties must be at least 50km wide for artillery over 100mm caliber, 70km for regular multiple rocket launchers and 100km for heavier weapons with a longer range, such as Tochka-U ballistic missiles, the document states.

The weapons pullout must start on Sunday and be completed in no longer than 14 days. The OSCE is charged with implementing the ceasefire on the ground and will use its drone fleet and monitors to verify that both parties are sticking to the deal.