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ST. PETERSBURG, September 24. /TASS/. Moscow hopes to reach a compromise agreement on withdrawal of weapons with calibre less than 100 mm in Ukraine’s south-eastern Donbas region, which will promote deescalation of the situation, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
"The ceasefire agreement is observed by the parties, which promotes settlement, creates prerequisites for more substantial work not only on the military, but also on other aspects of the Minsk agreements," she said. "Attaining the agreement on the withdrawal of weapons with calibre less than 100 mm is in line with the de-escalation task. Unfortunately, the sides have again failed to do this on September 22."
"Nevertheless, the search for a compromise continues," Zakharova said. "We hope it will be promoted by proposals of the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to Ukraine put forward for discussion at meetings of the Contact Group [on the Ukrainian crisis settlement]."
On September 12, in Berlin, foreign ministers of the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine) discussed settlement of the conflict in Ukraine. Despite the lack of evident progress, the parties were positive about the talks. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he had a positive impression from the talks. "There have been certain arguments concerning the order of steps regarding the constitutional reform, the necessary actions from Kiev’s authorities in providing a permanent special status for Donbas, but the arguments we had, I believe, have been heard."
Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said "as before, it was not easy, however, I can say with relief that there was less confrontation than before. We have been able to move forward on some issues," he said. The talks also showed "how difficult every step forward was. What we have achieved today was a result of hard work and must be implemented by the Contact Group." "There is hope that today’s meeting will contribute to defusing tensions in eastern Ukraine and also that it was part of preparations for the Four’s summit on October 2," the German foreign minister said.