Russia and Ukraine have reached a ceasefire agreement after 17 hours of discussions between world leaders in Minsk.
The ceasefire, which is due to begin midnight Saturday-Sunday, is accompanied by a mutual agreement between Russia and Ukraine to pull back heavy weapons, CNN indicated in a report. The report quoted Vladamir Putin as he addressed reporters after the four-way overnight discussion in Belarus as having said that he calls “on both sides to end the bloodshed as soon as possible” and to reach a real political solution to the conflict.
While the CNN report called the agreement a breakthrough, the German Foreign Office disagreed as they tweeted from their official Twitter account that the agreement “is not a breakthrough, but could be a step from a spiral of military escalation towards political momentum.”
— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) February 12, 2015
The ceasefire agreement, which was reached on Thursday, could bring an end to the already 10-month conflict which has resulted in the deaths of more than 5,000 people, many of whom were civilians.
Russia’s English-language RT News reported that the deal was reached after “marathon talks” between the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, and that the agreement had been signed by what the RT’s Alexey Druzhinin referred to in the report as “the Ukranian rebels.”
Putin told the media after last night’s discussions came to an end that he believed the leaders present during the peace talks had “agreed to a ceasefire” which he indicated would begin this Sunday.
I believe we agreed on a big deal. We agreed to a ceasefire starting at 00:00 on February 15
The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, told journalists in a separate statement that the “main thing” achieved by the agreement is “a general ceasefire” that comes without any conditions.
The man thing achieved is that from Saturday into Sunday there should be declared – without any conditions at all – a general ceasefire
The details, which were published on the Kremlin website, of the recently brokered deal in the Belarusian capital Minsk include a full pardon for the rebel fighters, an all-for-all prisoner swap, and the removal of “all foreign forces” and “mercenaries” from Ukraine, NBC News reported.
The deal comes just as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced it will contribute to a $40 billion Ukrainian bailout fund over the course of the next four years.
The AP indicated that Putin had indicated that he and Poroshenko still disagree on how to end the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Would you call the recent ceasefire agreement a breakthrough in the crisis in Ukraine?