A new cease-fire and an overall compact to end the war in eastern Ukraine was announced on Thursday by the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine after marathon overnight talks.
The deal reached after all-night negotiations in the Belarussian capital Minsk included a ceasefire that would come into effect on Feb. 15, followed by the withdrawal of heavy weapons.
The cease-fire is scheduled to take effect on midnight Saturday.
Even as the agreement was announced, it appeared fragile, with officials on all sides saying that there was more work to be done.
Officials had said hours earlier that there would be a joint briefing in the press room of the ornate Independence Palace, where the negotiations have taken place. But in the morning, the Russian and Ukrainian presidents had each planned to address reporters from their countries, while the leaders of Germany and France met with a different set of journalists.
According to a joint declaration distributed by the Kremlin, the four leaders had committed to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“We have managed to agree on the main issues,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “The second point that I believe to be extremely important is the withdrawal of heavy weapons from today’s line of contact for Ukrainian troops and from the line stipulated in the September 19 Minsk agreements for Donbass rebels,” he added.
The negotiations “consisted of a long night and a long morning, but we have arrived at an accord on a cease-fire and a global end to the conflict,” President François Hollande of France said. “It is a relief for Europe.” But, according to Hollande, there was still much work to be done on the Ukraine crisis.
The Ukrainian foreign minister, Pavlo A. Klimkin, sent out a tweet not long after dawn, saying that members of some delegations were “literally sleeping,” but that the negotiators for Kiev were still going strong.
The Minsk summit agreement offered hope for eastern Ukraine, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said. “After 17 hours, negotiations in Minsk have finished: ceasefire from Feb. 15 at zero hours, then withdrawal of heavy weapons. Therein lies hope,” Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Twitter. Merkel and Hollande joined Poroshenko and Putin for a marathon negotiating session that began early on Wednesday evening and continued into Thursday morning.
The news came as Ukraine was offered a $40-billion lifeline by the International Monetary Fund to stave off financial collapse.