Russia, Ukraine reach ceasefire deal in eastern Ukraine
Russia and Ukraine reached a new deal on a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, though even the leaders who negotiated it were downbeat about how far the pact would go towards resolving the 10-month old war that has killed upwards of 5,300 people.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko emerged from marathon talks in the Belarusian capital of Minsk to give separate press conferences announcing that a ceasefire would begin at midnight on Feb. 15. If the fighting stops, the next step would be a pullback of heavy artillery two days later by both the Ukrainian army and the Russian-backed rebels who have been fighting to carve out an independent state in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
While Mr. Putin was visibly pleased after the talks, the other leaders were more reserved. Ms. Merkel said she was under “no illusion” about what had been achieved and that “big hurdles” remained.
In a statement released from Berlin, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said “for some this will not be enough. We also would have wished for more - but this is what the presidents of Ukraine and Russia could agree on.”
Ms. Merkel and Mr. Hollande had pushed the Russian and Ukrainian leaders to end the fighting, amid worries it could spill over into a wider conflict. The United States and Canada are debating sending military aid to Ukraine, a step Ms. Merkel has said could lead to Russia upping its own involvement in the fighting.
Russia, Ukraine reach ceasefire deal in eastern Ukraine - The Globe and Mail