Putin announces cease-fire deal with Ukraine

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Left to right, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko talk in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015. AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday emerged from marathon Ukraine peace talks by announcing a new cease-fire deal, but questions remained whether Ukraine and the pro-Russian rebels have agreed on its terms.
 
French, German, Ukraine leaders to hold a \’short talk\’ before meeting Putin: source Reuters
Putin told reporters that the cease-fire will be effective starting from Sunday, but he added that he and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko disagreed on assessing the situation in a key flashpoint.
The government-controlled town of Debaltseve, a key transport hub between the two main rebel-controlled cities in the east, has been the focus of intense fighting in recent weeks as the rebels sought to encircle the Ukrainian troops there.
Putin said that the rebels consider the Ukrainian forces surrounded and expect them to surrender, while Ukraine disagrees with that.
He added that they agreed with Poroshenko to clarify the situation. Putin urged the warring parties to show restraint.
Putin\’s statement followed the talks brokered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, which dragged for more than 15 hours deep into a second day Thursday as the four leaders desperately sought to resolve their differences.
The Russian leader said that the peace deal they reached also determines a division line from which heavy weapons will be pulled back and contains provision for providing a special status for the rebellious regions, solving humanitarian issues and settling issues related to border control.
SOURCE: AP

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