Leaders agree peace roadmap for Ukraine
An agreement aimed at ending the fighting in Ukraine has been reached, following marathon talks in Belarus.
The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France announced that a ceasefire would begin on 15 February, the BBC reports.
The deal also includes weapon withdrawals and prisoner exchanges, but key issues remain to be settled.
The pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine have signed the agreement. Thousands of people died in almost a year of fighting in the region.
The latest agreement includes: Ceasefire to begin at 0001 local time on 15 February; Heavy weapons to be pulled out from conflict zones, beginning on 17 February and completed in two weeks; All prisoners to be released; amnesty for those involved in fighting; Withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, weapons and mercenaries from Ukrainian territory. Disarmament of all illegal groups; Ukraine to allow resumption of normal life in rebel areas, by lifting restrictions; Constitutional reform to enable decentralisation for rebel regions by the end of 2015; Ukraine to control border with Russia if conditions met by the end of 2015; French President Francois Hollande said he and German Chancellor Angela Merkel would ask their European Union partners to support the deal at a summit later on Thursday.
Ms Merkel said there was now a “glimmer of hope” but big hurdles remained.