Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine agree a deal that offers a ''glimmer of hope'' for an end to fighting in eastern Ukraine after marathon overnight talks. Mana Rabiee reports.
Expectations were low going into the Ukraine peace talks in Minsk, Belarus but on Thursday... the welcome news from German Chancellor Ankela Merkel that rebels had agreed to a ceasefire starting midnight Sunday. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "We now have a glimmer of hope. We agreed on a comprehensive implementation of Minsk but concrete steps must of course be taken and big hurdles still lie ahead of us." The ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists would be followed by the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line -- and then -- constitutional reform to give eastern Ukraine more autonomy. The rebels HAD wanted all-out independence. They've already created self-proclaimed "people's republics". (nats residents cleaning up) And as the talks went on, so did the war. Residents of the embattled city of Donetsk spent their Thursday morning sifting through rubble after another night of shelling. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) DONETSK RESIDENT VLADIMIR, SAYING: "The shelling was at about 8:30 at night, during the Minsk peace talks. They gathered there to talk about a ceasefire or the end to shelling. At that very time, here, there was a cruel shelling, mortars were falling. And you can film the results." The overnight agreement addresses stumbling points that had shredded an earlier ceasefire deal. Among them .... a demarcation line the rebels want to reflect their gains from a recent offensive. Ukraine will also get control of its border with Russia, but in consultation with rebels and ONLY after the regions gain more autonomy by the end this year.