Ukraine, Russia reach peace agreement

German, French, Russian and Ukrainian leaders reached an agreement to end fighting in eastern Ukraine, negotiators said early Thursday, according to multiple reports.


A ceasefire between Ukrainian and rebel forces is set to go into effect on Sunday, according to reports. Once the ceasefire is in place, other aspects of the deal will go into effect.

Negotiators had reached a deal on the line of demarcation between Ukraine and the areas controlled by the Russian-backed rebels. Under that portion of the deal, both Ukraine and the rebels will pull back their heavy weapons from the current front line of the conflict after the cease fire begins — creating a sort of demilitarized zone.

In return for receiving control of its border with Russia, the Ukrainian government agreed to institute a series of constitutional reforms to give separatist controlled regions in eastern Ukraine more powers.

But Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that no agreement had been reached about giving eastern Ukraine autonomy as a part of the agreement, The Associated Press reported.

"We have managed to agree on the main issues," Russian President Vladimir Putin said, according to Reuters.

Reuters reported that a joint declaration distributed by the Kremlin says the leaders committed to respect Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

French President François Hollande said the deal comes as a "relief to Europe," the AP reported.

The deal came after marathon negotiations, outlets reported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Putin had pressured the rebels to sign on to the accord, Reuters reported. She also praised Poroshenko for doing "everything to achieve the possibility of an end to the bloodshed."

Though a ceasefire was signed in September, fighting has intensified in recent weeks. The flare-up drove France and Germany to bring Ukraine and Russia to the table in advance of a European Union summit that starts Thursday.

The deal came shortly after President Obama said he was considering whether to send lethal aid to Ukraine, something that many feared would only inflame the conflict.

—This report was updated at 7:52 a.m.