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MOSCOW, August 22. /TASS/. The leaders of the Normandy Four group of states (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) supported the expected decision of the Contact Group on Ukrainian reconciliation to announce a ceasefire due to the start of the academic year, the Kremlin press service said on Tuesday.
The leaders of the four nations - Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko - held a phone conversation on Tuesday evening.
"The leaders expressed their strong support for the Contact Group’s expected decision to announce a ceasefire on August 23 due to the start of the academic year," the press service said in a statement.
"On the basis of a solid ceasefire, the leaders undertook to continue personal assistance to the further implementation of the Complex of Measures, adopted in Minsk in February 2015," the statement reads.
The Package of Measures to fulfil the September 2014 Minsk agreements, known as Minsk-2, was signed in Minsk on February 12, 2015. It envisaged a ceasefire between the Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) and a subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.
These agreements however have not been implemented until now. The Ukrainian side has been dodging implementation of the package’s political provisions citing security problems as a reason. Ukraine has failed to carry out a constitutional reform, to enforce a law on the region’s special status and to pass a law on elections in Donbass. Instead, it insists on regaining control over the border with Russia, which is to take place only after the elections, as is envisaged by the Minsk agreements.