In the midst of a major reduction in violence, following an agreement to resume the implementation of Minsk II concluded on 1 September, the four from Normandy held a meeting on 2 October. At the meeting, it was agreed that the elections will be held in the conflict zone, in accordance with Minsk II.  On that date, French President Francois Hollande said that the elections should be postponed to 2016, as it would take three months to prepare them.  Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to use his influence to prevent the DPR and LPR from holding early elections.  As a result, the DPR and LPR announced on 6 October that their scheduled elections had been postponed to 21 February 2016.  Municipal elections in the rest of Ukraine continued on 25 October 2015. After the postponement, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that if OSCE observers verified that the elections scheduled in the separatist regions were in line with Ukrainian law and Minsk II, the “Special Status Act” of those territories would immediately come into force.  Although fighting generally broke down after the ceasefire came into force on 15 February at 0:00 EET, fighting and shooting continued in several parts of the conflict zone.  Gunfire and fighting continued in Debaltseve, with DPR chief Alexander Zakharchenko saying the ceasefire did not apply to the area.  South of Donetsk Oblast, fighting continued between DPR troops and members of the Azov Battalion in villages near Marioupol.
  On 16 February, Minsk II appeared to be on the brink of collapse.   The separatists continued a severe attack on Debaltsewe. Both sides said they would not withdraw heavy weapons during the fighting in Debalzewe, as stipulated in the agreement.  Reuters called the ceasefire in Debalzewe a “stillborn.  Ukrainian forces were forced to withdraw from Debaltseve on 18 February and let the separatists take control of the city.  The new package, commonly referred to as Minsk II, has been criticized as “extremely complicated” and “extremely fragile” and very similar to the failure of the Minsk Protocol.    The New York Times reported that the plan contained “some Tripwirs,” such as the non-delimitation of control of the city of Debaltseve, which was the scene of the most violent fighting at the time of the plan.”   Following the Minsk talks, Chancellor Merkel, President Hollande and President Poroshenko attended a European Union (EU) summit in Brussels.  At the summit, participants in Minsk briefed EU heads of state and government on the talks.