Written by Staff Writer
12 Feb, 2015 | 5:36 pm
According to Russian President Vladmir Putin, the leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine have agreed a deal to end fighting in eastern Ukraine.
The deal was reached on Thursday (February 12th) following all-night negotiations in the Belarussian capital Minsk. The deal includes a ceasefire that would come into effect on February 15, followed by the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of confrontation.
The Russian President also said that a peaceful political resolution to the conflict should also take into account the lawful rights of the people who live in the territory of Donbass.
The summit discussions came as pro-Moscow separatists tightened the pressure on Kiev by launching some of the war’s worst fighting on Wednesday (February 11), killing 19 Ukrainian soldiers in assaults near the railway town of Debaltseve.
As the fighting escalated, Washington has begun openly talking of arming Ukraine to defend itself from “Russian aggression”, raising the prospect of a proxy war in the heart of Europe between Cold War foes.
The news of a deal also came as Ukraine was offered a $40-billion lifeline by the International Monetary Fund to stave off financial collapse.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said that the Minsk summit agreement offered hope for eastern Ukraine. French President Francois Hollande said there was still much work to be done on the Ukraine crisis, but the agreement was a real chance to ameliorate the situation.
The outcome of the Minsk talks is expected to influence discussions at an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday, when sanctions against Moscow will be on the agenda. A deal would likely mean a softer line towards Moscow.
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