From left, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko pose for a photo during the four-way meeting in Minsk.

`We have agreed on the main issues,` Reuters quoted Russian President Vladimir Putin as speaking to the press after the negotiations, and said a ceasefire would take effect from February 15.

`After 17 hours, the negotiations in Minsk ended with a ceasefire effective from 0:00 on February 15 and followed by the withdrawal of heavy weapons. There is hope in this,` said Steffen Seibert, who

French President Francois Hollande said the separatists had also signed an agreement to end fighting in eastern Ukraine.

According to Mr. Hollande, there is still a lot of work to be done regarding the Ukraine crisis, but today’s agreement is a real opportunity to improve the situation.

Ukrainian President Poroshenko also confirmed information about the ceasefire agreement.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the agreement reached at the four-party meeting in Minsk was not everything the country expected but this was a very necessary step to end the violence and move towards a political solution.

`Most importantly, Moscow and Kiev agreed on a ceasefire… we consolidated the Minsk agreement last September,` Mr. Steinmeier said in a statement.

According to the German foreign minister, the negotiations were extremely difficult.

Leaders of four countries, Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, yesterday began a historic meeting in the Belarusian capital Minsk to find a way out of the Ukraine crisis.

The talks focused on securing a ceasefire, withdrawing heavy weapons and establishing a demilitarized zone.