Progress has been made at the NATO summit between Ukraine and Russia. The NATO military alliance will form a "rapid reaction force" to face growing tensions between the former Soviet neighbors. Conversations have also led to a tentative ceasefire agreement between Ukraine and Pro-Russian separatists, to be begin on Friday.
The agreement has been up in the air for several days. Initially, Ukraine announced the ceasefire early in the week. However the language of the press release was then changed to indicate Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin had only "discussed regime of complete ceasefire" leading to "an agreement on ceasefire regime," though not a signing of the ceasefire itself.
Interfax reports that the ceasefire agreement was signed and will go into effect at 6:00 p.m. local time (11:00 a.m. Eastern.) The agreement was reportedly signed by both Ukrainian officials and representatives from the Pro-Russian rebels group "Donetsk People's Republic." A source told Interfax, "Protocol of the ceasefire from 18.00 on Friday. Minutes of the 14 items, which include all aspects of control, exchange of prisoners and other issues."
Around 9:30 a.m. ET, President Poroshenko gave the order for Ukrainian troops to halt their fire at 6:00 p.m. local time.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk commented briefly on the agreement at the top of a Cabinet meeting today. "The world needs to be ready, but not on the basis of the plan of the Russian president, but on the basis of the plan of the Ukrainian [president], which should be supported by the United States and the EU, because we cannot deal with Russia alone. Because [they may] fool us." He also notes that Ukraine is now considering a project called "The Wall" in regards to the Ukrainian-Russian border.
Poroshenko has not yet offered a complete statement on the reported ceasefire, however, in a conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during yesterday's NATO Summit, he said "[The] ceasefire by all the parties and disarmament must become the basis for the beginning of the peace process." In meeting with David Cameron, Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, and other officials, Poroshenko said, "Ukraine has never wanted war, is tired of war and will do everything possible for peace to come to its land. The first step towards peace is ceasefire, resolute actions that will facilitate disarmament, nationwide dialogue, adoption of respective legislative acts that will bring continuous stability in Donetsk and Luhansk regions."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.