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Chronology of marathon negotiations on a Ukraine accord

Minsk - The marathon talks in Minsk that led to Thursday's Ukraine peace plan were punctuated with rumours, leaks, quips and arresting gazes by alternatively weary and incensed officials rotating in and out of negotiations.

Ukraine deal: West cautious, rebels victorious, civilians sceptical

Minsk - Western European leaders voiced cautious optimism after hammering out a Ukraine peace plan in Minsk on Thursday, hailed as a great victory by pro-Russian rebels but met with scepticism by war-weary civilians.

Key points of new Ukraine peace plan

Minsk - Kiev and pro-Russian rebels agreed a peace roadmap Thursday after marathon negotiations in Minsk involving the leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine.

Putin says rebels want encircled Ukraine troops to surrender

Minsk - Russia's President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that pro-Russian rebels had encircled up to 8,000 Ukrainian troops and expected them to surrender ahead of a ceasefire.

Ukraine peace summit agrees ceasefire

Minsk - Marathon talks in Belarus ended Thursday with a ceasefire announcement in the war between Ukraine and pro-Moscow rebels, but Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that "big hurdles" remained.

Putin and Poroshenko shake hands: Russian television

Minsk - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday briefly shook hands at the start of crunch peace talks in Minsk, in footage shown live on Russian state television.

Bloody battles rage ahead of Ukraine peace summit

Minsk - Ukrainian forces battled pro-Russian rebels for territory on Wednesday on one of the bloodiest days in the 10-month war ahead of a pivotal peace summit on the conflict.

Europe's outcast Belarus unlikely star of Ukraine talks

Minsk - Political pariah turned would-be peacemaker, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko will bask in the limelight this week when European leaders desperate to end the Ukraine war are expected to gather in Minsk.

Couple gives birth to twins on way to hospital

On Thursday morning a married couple attempted to reach a hospital in Lincoln Nebraska. Their attempt was interrupted as their unborn twins had other plans and made their debut to the world on the side of Highway 77.

Ukraine peace talks collapse as fighting rages

Minsk - Peace talks aimed at halting rising bloodshed in eastern Ukraine ended in failure Saturday, with Kiev's envoy saying pro-Russian separatists wrecked a deal by refusing to discuss an immediate ceasefire.

Fifteen troops killed as Ukraine peace talks begin

Minsk - Kiev representatives and pro-Russian separatists finally met on Saturday to thrash out a "binding" truce despite Ukraine suffering one of its bloodiest days yet in the nine-month conflict with 15 troops killed.

New Ukraine peace talks to take place Friday

Minsk - Belarus said that a new round of Ukrainian peace negotiations involving the warring sides and overseen by European and Russian envoys would be held on Friday in Minsk.

New Year brings Eurasian Economic Union into force

Moscow - On January 1, the Eurasian Economic Union(EEU) came into force, linking Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and now Armenia as well.

Belarus strongman sacks PM amid economic woes

Minsk - Belarussian strongman Alexander Lukashenko on Saturday sacked his prime minister and several other top officials as the ex-Soviet state reels from the effects of Russia's economic crisis next door.

Ukraine, pro-Russian rebels resume peace talks

Minsk - Ukranian and rebel envoys resumed intense talks on Wednesday aimed at ending a pro-Russian uprising that has left the ex-Soviet republic in ruins and upset East-West ties.

Ukraine peace talks resume in Minsk: Official

Minsk - A new round of talks aimed at ending a protracted Moscow-backed separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine got underway in the Belarussian capital Minsk on Wednesday, a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Ukraine, pro-Russian rebels resume peace talks

Minsk - Ukranian and rebel envoys prepared for intense talks on Wednesday aimed at ending a pro-Russian uprising that has left the ex-Soviet republic in ruins and upset East-West ties.

World's longest train journey — China to Spain opens

China has inaugurated the world's longest train journey, traversing the whole of Central Asia and Europe. Dubbed the new Silk Road, it is expected to give a major economic boost to trade between China and the EU.

Russia ratifies economic union with Belarus and Kazakhstan

Moscow - Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, signed a law that commits the country to the Eurasian Economic Union. The agreement comes into force on the first of January 2015 creating an economic union among Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

Russia agrees to separate warring factions in Ukraine

Minsk - Russian Federation negotiators have agreed to a deal to keep Ukraine's armed forces from attacking anti-government separatists believed to be supported by Moscow.
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