Putin announces ceasefire in Ukraine

Russian president Vladimir Putin has announced a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine from midnight on Saturday.

Putin announces ceasefire in Ukraine

Russian president Vladimir Putin has announced a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine from midnight on Saturday.

The announcement came after marathon talks in Minsk involving Mr Putin, German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Francois Hollande and Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko.

More than 5,300 people have died since April in fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists in two eastern provinces and the bloodshed has risen sharply in recent weeks.

Mr Putin said agreement was also reached on a division line for the withdrawal of heavy weapons in the region.

The accord came after 15 hours of talks in the Belarusian capital.

Meanwhile, rebels and government troops reported continued fighting across eastern Ukraine.

Mr Poroshenko said the deal signed in Minsk gives no autonomy to rebel-held areas, and envisages Ukraine reclaiming control of the border.

Mr Hollande said he and Ms Merkel are committed to helping verify the ceasefire process with the Russian and Ukrainian leaders.

Speaking after the talks, he said the announcement of a ceasefire deal has come as a “relief to Europe”.

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