Europe

Coffee and milk 'fuelled Ukraine ceasefire deal' - Belarus

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko (right) in Minsk with Russian President Vladimir Putin, 11 Feb 15 Image copyright AP
Image caption President Lukashenko (right) enjoying a joke with Russia's President Putin

"Buckets" of coffee and local dairy produce kept the leaders going during their all-night Ukraine peace talks, the Belarus leader has said.

President Alexander Lukashenko hosted the talks in Minsk, which resulted in a new ceasefire deal on Thursday. Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany took part.

"They ate omelettes, cheese, dairy produce, drank several buckets of coffee," he was quoted as saying.

"My job was to provide the ammunition on time," he said jokingly.

He added that it was Belarusian and Russian produce that the leaders consumed.

Russia has blocked imports of EU food and drink, in retaliation for Western sanctions imposed over Russia's role in the Ukraine conflict.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The leaders in Minsk (from left: Vladimir Putin, Francois Hollande, Angela Merkel, Petro Poroshenko)

The expert advisers at the talks "slept in shifts - in order to keep clear heads", Mr Lukashenko told the Belarus news agency Belta.

The Minsk talks brought together Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Mr Lukashenko rules in authoritarian style, cracking down on dissent and maintaining state control over key economic sectors.

Sometimes dubbed "Europe's last dictator", he has ruled Belarus - a former Soviet republic - with an iron fist since 1994.