— Martin Lidegaard (@martinlidegaard) February 12, 2015
Russian President Vladimir Putin, France's President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (L-R) in Minsk on Wednesday. Photo: AFP/Ukrainian Presi
Denmark is sending an extra 10 million kroner ($1.5m) to victims of the Ukraine crisis, the government announced just hours before a ceasefire agreement was reached in Minsk.
Denmark’s contribution comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Hollande of France and President Poroschenko of Ukraine have finally reached a ceasefire agreement for eastern Ukraine.
“Even though we have a peace agreement, the civilian population is still suffering tremendously. The cold winter is life-threatening for the many people who have been forced to flee and there is an urgent need to help those suffering by getting a roof over their head and keeping them warm,” Development Minister Mogens Jensen said.
With the new 10 million kroner contribution, Denmark becomes one of the largest European donors to Ukraine, joining countries like Germany, Sweden and England.
Putin told reporters in the Belarusian capital Minsk on Thursday that following an "agreement on the essential points" after 17 hours of negotiations, the ceasefire would come into effect at midnight on Sunday, February 15th.
Merkel expressed a glimmer of hope in light of the breakthrough but added that she had "no illusions" about the deal's solidity and that "big hurdles" remained. Hollande, meanwhile, called the agreement "a relief for Europe and hope for Ukraine".
Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard also expressed cautious optimism.
“Ceasefire in Ukraine – important step forward. Now the promises have to be delivered on,” Lidegaard wrote on Twitter.
Jensen said in a press statement that the Danish contribution would come via the UNHCR and will focus on tens, beds, sleeping bags and the reparation of damaged homes.
Denmark also contributed 10 million kroner in December, funnelling that money through the International Committee of the Red Cross.
For more on the Ukraine ceasefire, visit The Local Germany.