Leaders agree peace roadmap for Ukraine

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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.

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