Difficult negotiations in the Normandy format with participation of President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel, President of France Francois Hollande and President of Russia Vladimir Putin have been finished in Minsk. The negotiations lasted over 18 hours. "The Trilateral Contact Group has signed a document, which has been elaborated in difficult discussions. The main thing is that at midnight (the night from February 14 to February 15) unconditional ceasefire will be established. It is crucially important for us given the unleashing conflict in the ATO area," Petro Poroshenko informed.
According to him, the Ukrainian party has faced a series of unacceptable conditions. "We didn't yield to any ultimatum and clearly emphasized that the ceasefire would be declared without any preliminary conditions. The ceasefire must provide for the pullback of heavy artillery with the caliber over 100 mm at a distance of 25 km from the Minsk line for the illegal armed groups and at a distance of 25 km from the line of actual location for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The overall buffer area will thus be equal to 50 km," the President told. At the same time, buffer area for multiple launch rocket systems will be equal to 70 km; for MLRS "Smerch", "Tornado" and "Uragan" - 140 km.
The agreements provide for the liberation of all hostages within 19 days. The pullback of heavy artillery must be carried out within 14 days, then, within 5 days, hostages must be liberated. The President has informed that he had touched upon the issue of Nadiya Savchenko's liberation. "I was informed that it will be done shortly after the medical expertise and preliminary investigation. I insisted that it should be done immediately. Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande supported me in this issue," the Head of State noted.
The President has informed that there was also a clear commitment to withdraw all foreign troops from the territory of Ukraine in the nearest time.
Also, the implementation of a part of the Minsk agreements on the border closure has been designated in details. It was emphasized that after the completion of political settlement, a joint protection of the Ukrainian border with participation of the OSCE representatives should be implemented. "By the end of the year, in the second stage, Ukrainian border guards should fully regain control over the border," the President informed. According to him, dates and figures have been clearly stipulated in the joint declaration of the Heads of State in Minsk.
Answering the question of journalists whether the autonomy of the territories has been discussed, President Poroshenko has noted that despite rigid insistence, the Ukrainian party hadn't agreed to the autonomy status. "Broadening of powers of the Ukrainian regions will take place solely under the constitutional amendments on decentralization. We didn't yield to any compromise on federalization," the President said. Petro Poroshenko added that social payments in the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk regions must be restored after the "stabilization of the situation and restoration of state sovereignty of Ukraine".
The President has also emphasized that the OSCE mission would ensure the monitoring over the ceasefire regime. In the nearest time, the functioning of the joint center for the control over these agreements will be restored. On February 13, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko and Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov are planning a meeting to ensure control over the ceasefire regime.
Also, according to the Head of State, the agreement had been reached on unconditional access of Ukraine and international partners to the provision of humanitarian assistance for the people living in the occupied territories. "We will do everything to overcome the humanitarian crisis and deliver all the necessary to the local population," Petro Poroshenko has emphasized.