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Ukraine, Russia announce truce to begin Sunday

 A ceasefire will begin in eastern Ukraine Feb 15, the leaders of Russia and Ukraine announced here Thursday.


Ukraine, Russia announce truce to begin Sunday

Minsk: A ceasefire will begin in eastern Ukraine Feb 15, the leaders of Russia and Ukraine announced here Thursday.

"We have managed to agree on the main issues," Russian President Vladimir Putin said after marathon talks with Ukraine`s Petro Poroshenko, as well the leaders of France and Germany, BBC reported.

French President Francois Hollande said a "serious deal" had been reached, although work remained to be done.

Thousands of people have been killed in the fighting in the east of Ukraine.

The meeting in Belarus -- which lasted for about 17 hours -- was focused on securing a ceasefire, withdrawal of heavy weapons and creating a demilitarised zone in Eastern Ukraine.

Putin said the agreement also established a line from which heavy weaponry would be pulled back. Ukraine`s pro-Russian rebels have accepted the deal, the leaders said.

Hollande said he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel would ask their European Union partners to support it at a summit later in the day.

The agreement - reached after 17 hours of negotiations in Minsk - includes: Ceasefire to begin at midnight Feb 15; Heavy weapons to be pulled out; and all prisoners to be released.

Poroshenko said Ukraine would establish control of international border by the end of the year.

Earlier during a break, Poroshenko said the conditions put forth by Russia in the ongoing negotiations over the conflict in Ukraine were "unacceptable".

Merkel said there was now a "glimmer of hope" but big hurdles remained.

Key unresolved issues include the status of Debaltseve, a government-held town surrounded by rebels that has been the focus of fierce fighting in recent days.

Further talks would also be held on self-rule in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk separatist regions.

Putin told Russian television: "It wasn`t the best night for me, but it`s a good morning."

Poroshenko - who accused Russia of making "unacceptable" demands - said "despite tension and pressure" Ukraine had not succumbed to "ultimatums".

Meanwhile, the separatist leader in the Luhansk region, Igor Plotnitskiy, welcomed the agreement.

"We hope that thanks to our efforts today (Thursday) Ukraine would change and stop firing at civilians, hospitals and socially important facilities," he said.

From Zee News

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