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New eastern Ukraine ceasefire deal reached

July 23, 2020

Government officials and pro-Russian separatists have agreed on the terms of a full ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. European leaders had demanded such a deal before they would agree to holding a new summit on Ukraine.

Firefighters douse flames at a house
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/V. Sprinchak

The Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists have reached an agreement for a full ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, the president's office confirmed Wednesday. 

A "complete and all-encompassing ceasefire" will be implemented in the region starting from Monday, the presidential office in Kyiv announced.

Representatives of pro-Russian separatists had earlier announced the deal, the latest in some two dozen failed attempts at a complete ceasefire in Ukraine's east. 

The conflict between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed rebels in Donetsk and Luhansk, near the Russian border, has killed over 13,000 people since 2014, when Moscow took over Ukraine's Crimea peninsula and backed the rebellion in the east.

Major combat came to an end after a 2015 ceasefire, but periodic clashes continue to kill Ukrainian soldiers, separatists, and civilians.

Russia-Ukraine conflict

Ceasefire meets requirements for summit

"The breakthrough ... is the result of the effective work of the Ukrainian delegation with the support of our international partners in Berlin and Paris," the office of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a statement.

Reaching a ceasefire deal was a precondition for a new Ukrainian crisis summit. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have spoken of reuniting Zelenskiy and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The separatist groups said that in addition to the ceasefire, the parties had agreed to ban the use of drones and positioning heavy weapons in built-up areas, measures intended to protect civilians living along the 450-kilometer-long (280-mile-long) front. Return fire is only permissible with the highest level of command, the groups said.

Kyiv did not confirm the additional agreements.

kp/nm (dpa, Reuters)