Ukraine guarantees to observe a ceasefire in the country’s war-torn eastern region of Donbass for at least seven days, according to Germany’s foreign minister who made the announcement after a meeting with Ukraine’s president in Kyiv.
“Today we came here with the announcement, with a commitment from Moscow, which reached us yesterday, that starting tonight there will be a ceasefire on the part of the separatists, to start with for seven days, beginning at midnight,” said :Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier during a news conference with his French and Ukrainian counterparts.
“In the next week we see an opportunity for a new dynamic in the conflict,” Ayrault told reporters.
Leaders of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk said they would also cease fire from midnight.
‘Back to school’ ceasefire
A ceasefire was launched to coincide with the start of the school year on September 1. It failed to stop all fighting.
“We are again at a crossroads,” Steinmeier told a briefing. “We see a small sliver of hope in the back-to-school ceasefire … but it is not enough.”
“We have to see clearly the order of the steps that are going to be taken and also the guarantees of fulfillment from the Russian side,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said. “The progress in fulfillment of this main assignment has to bring us to the possibility of the meeting in Normandy format.”
If the ceasefire holds and the agreement is signed as expected, the foreign ministers of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia could meet in New York next week on the sidelines of a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.
That could prepare the way for a meeting of the leaders of the four “Normandy format” countries for the first time since October 2015: Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia.
Both Kyiv forces and fighters from the self-proclaimed republics accuse each other of violating ceasefire and other points of the 18-month-old Minsk agreement reached in the Belarusian capital.