Cease-Fire Agreement Reached Overnight In Ukraine; U.S. Stock Futures Up On News

Cease-Fire Agreement Reached Overnight In Ukraine; U.S. Stock Futures Up On News

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The Wall Street Journal, among other news outlets is reporting this morning that a cease-fire has been reached between Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany on a cease fire in Ukraine, as negotiators worked through the night to reach an agreement. The devil remains in the details of course. The cease-fire goes into effect next Tuesday. Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to the withdrawal of heavy artillery from eastern Ukraine, starting midnight Saturday and to be completed by Tuesday. “The next thing that I believe is very important…is the withdrawal of heavy weapons…and the withdrawal of Donbass militias,” Mr. Putin said. Clear points of territorial integrity, economic, and political issues remain to be worked out. The Kiyv Post is reporting this morning that “Kremlin-backed insurgents, were also present at the talks; and, have demanded that Ukraine surrender the city of Debaltseve — which is partially surrounded by separatists.” The Russia Times is reporting this morning that “a compromise decision was taken over the disengagement line, which was the biggest stumbling block in the negotiations. Mr. Putin said “Kiev’s troops would pull back heavy weapons from the current front-line; while the rebels, would pull back from the line that existed in September, when the previous cease-fire agreement was reached. The security zone separating the warring parties, must be at least 50km wide for artillery over 100mm caliber; 70km for regular rocket-launchers; and, 100km for heavier weapons with a longer range — such as the Tochka-U ballistic missiles,” the document states.

“The weapons pullout must begin on Sunday; and, be completed in no longer than 14 days,” according to the Russia Times. The document also repeats the points of as year’s truce — including political reform in Ukraine — to ensure special status for its rebel provinces; and, the settlement of the border situation,” Mr. Putin said. “The special status provision requires Ukraine to adopt legislation that would provide permanent privileges to Lugansk, and Donetsk Regions — currently a self-declared republic — by the end of 2015.”

It would seem to me that Putin comes out the winner on this agreement; but, I defer to those who are experts in this area of the world. U.S. stock futures are surging on the news, as is oil. We’ll see, after the details of the agreement sink in — whether or not investors think this is positive development; and, whether or not it a solid basis for defusing the conflict. V/R, RCP

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