Putin: Ceasefire agreement on Ukraine starting February 15

Minsk, SANA-Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Thursday, at the end of “Normandy Four Summit”: “I believe we agreed on a big deal. We agreed to a ceasefire starting at 00:00 on February 15”.

The deal was reached after marathon talks between the leaders of France Francois Hollande, Germany Angela Merkel, Russia Vladimir Putin and Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, and signed by the Ukrainian rebels.

A compromise decision was taken over the disengagement line, which was the biggest stumbling block in the negotiation. According to the document, Kiev’s troops would pull back heavy weapons from the current frontline. The rebels would pull back from the line as it existed in September, when the previous ceasefire agreement was signed.

Humanitarian and economic issues are also mentioned in the deal. Kiev would restore economic ties and social payments, which it cut in rebel-held areas, the document says. An international monitoring mechanism may be established for these payments.

Putin said that Kiev’s unwillingness to hold direct talks with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics was among the reasons it took so much time to reach an agreement.

“They may be unrecognized, but we have to deal with real life here, and if everyone wants to agree and have sustainable relations, direct contacts are needed,” Putin said.

He added that the ‘Normandy Four’ expect the parties involved in the conflict to show restraint even in the days before the ceasefire takes effect.

The terms of the ceasefire are spelled out in a document signed by members of the so-called contact group, which includes representatives from the rebel forces, Kiev, Moscow and the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, Putin said.

Manal Ismael

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