Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko has welcomed the ceasefire agreement reached in Minsk that should end the fighting in east Ukraine.
He said it was vindication of his peace plan, and he said the onus was now on everyone to make the ceasefire last and give talks time to bear fruit.
Kyiv tried a unilateral ceasefire earlier in the conflict but it failed to stick when pro-Russian separatists ignored it and fired on the Ukrainian army, and violations on both sides spiralled into intensified conflict.
“In this protocol there are 12 practical steps to establish peace and stability in part of the Donetsk and Luhansk region of Ukraine. With the respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine,” said Poroshenko.
Within minutes of the ceasefire coming into force three loud explosions were heard north of Donetsk. A prisoner exchange should be the next step, while armed forces are supposed to hold their current positions.