An agreement aimed at ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine has been found, following four-way talks between the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France in Minsk.

The deal includes a ceasefire that will come into effect on 15 February, the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the frontlines, and the freeing of all prisoners.

Ukraine has also agreed to lift restrictions on rebel-held areas and enact constitutional reform to enable a decentralised government for the rebel regions by the end of the year.

The ceasefire line is the same as the one agreed in the September agreement that quickly unravelled, and would see the Russia-backed rebels lose some of the ground they have taken since then. However, the line does mean that the rebels would remain in control of Donetsk airport.

Russia and the rebel groups also agreed to the withdrawal of all foreign weapons and mercenaries from Ukrainian territory, but there was still no admission from Russia that it had been arming the rebels and sending in Russian troops as mercenaries to aid in their efforts to break away.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande said thaht they will ask their European partners to support the agreement at a summit later on Thursday.



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