KIEV - Ukraine was set Friday to hammer out a ceasefire deal with pro-Russian rebels after almost five months of fighting that has killed around 2,600 people in the east of the country.
Officials representing Kiev, Moscow, the separatists and the pan-European security body the OSCE were meeting to discuss the proposed truce in Minsk.
The peace blueprint was unveiled earlier this week by Russian President Vladimir Putin after talks with Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko.
After initially saying that Russia was not a party to the conflict, Putin outlined a series of steps under what the Kremlin described as an "action plan" to end the bloodshed.
Following are the main points: - First, end active offensive operations by armed forces, armed units and militia groups in southeast Ukraine in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
- Second, withdraw Ukrainian armed forces units to a distance that would make it impossible to fire on populated areas using artillery and all types of multiple launch rocket systems.
- Third, allow for full and objective international monitoring of compliance with the ceasefire, and monitoring of the situation in the safe zone created by the ceasefire.
- Fourth, exclude all use of military aircraft against civilians and populated areas in the conflict zone.
- Fifth, organise the exchange of individuals detained by force on an "all for all" basis without any preconditions.
- Sixth, open humanitarian corridors for refugees and for delivering humanitarian cargoes to towns and populated areas in Donbass (the Donetsk and Lugansk regions).
- Seventh, make it possible for teams to come to damaged settlements in the Donbass region in order to repair and rebuild social facilities and infrastructure and help the region to prepare for the winter.