Ukraine peace agreement to be reached in Minsk soon
There are indications that a peace summit in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, aimed at ending conflicts between government troops and pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine has produced positive results, and an agreement will be signed soon.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin are to sign the document consisting of 12 to 13 points, Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency quoted an unnamed diplomatic source as saying on Thursday.
The four leaders negotiated for more than 12 hours at the Independence Palace in the Belarusian capital. The closed-door talks were only briefly interrupted when the top brass politicians asked their foreign ministers and top aides to join them, only to continue later without them.
The German Foreign Ministry said earlier that the talks were “not easy and continuing,” adding that Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has postponed his departure for a planned trip to Brazil.
Valeriy Chaliy, deputy chief of staff for Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, said that the Ukrainian delegation would not leave without having agreed a ceasefire.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also said the talks were going “better than super.”
Deadly conflict still raging in eastern Ukraine
Meanwhile, reports says there had been heavy shelling in the eastern outskirts of Mariupol, located 740 kilometers (459 miles) southeast of the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, throughout the night.