Ukraine ceasefire deal welcomed by UN chief

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Returnees to the eastern Ukranian town of Sloviansk cycle past buildings that were heavily damaged during the fighting earlier in 2014. Photo: UNHCR/Iva Zimova

A ceasefire agreement signed by the Ukrainian government and rebel fighters on Friday has been welcomed by the United Nations Secretary-General.

Representatives of the warring parties have been meeting in the Belarusian capital Minsk to negotiate an end to  almost five months of fighting in eastern Ukraine.

More than 2, 600 people are reported to have died in the fighting which was sparked by a rebellion of what are called pro-Russian forces who want to secede from Ukraine.

Stephane Dujarric is the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General in New York.

"The Secretary-General welcomes the positive news that today's consultations between the Trilateral Contact Group and representatives of armed groups have resulted in the agreement of a cease-fire. He also notes the recent discussions between the Presidents of Ukraine and Russia have played a part in today's breakthrough and strongly encourages those contacts to continue. The Secretary-General stresses that credible and comprehensive monitoring and verification are essential elements for successful implementation of the cease-fire and the peace plan."

Mr Dujarric said the Secretary-General encourages all who committed to the agreement to display good will and take concrete steps towards urgent, full and effective implementation.

Ban Ki-moon reiterates that there is no military solution to the crisis in Ukraine, and strongly asserts that it is time to end this "destructive conflict" once and for all, the Spokesperson added.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations

Duration: 1’39″

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