MOSCOW, December 22. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation on Monday with Presidents of Ukraine and France, Petro Poroshenko and Francois Hollande, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Kremlin press service said.
“The leaders exchanged views on issues of the conflict settlement in southeastern Ukraine. They noted with satisfaction that the conflicting parties in the recent days have been observing the ceasefire regime,” the press service said.
“The four leaders agreed that the videoconference on December 19 that involved representatives of Ukraine, the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Russia would help organize a meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk as soon as possible,” the Kremlin said.
The sides stressed the necessity to “observe the ‘silence’ regime, to reach an agreement on the disengagement line, to pull out heavy weaponry, to invigorate the process of hostage exchange, and to take measures to normalize the socio-economic situation and offer humanitarian assistance to people in the affected regions,” the press service said.
The four leaders agreed to continue contacts on issues related to the Ukrainian crisis.
The press service of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshneko said that the four leaders had agreed to have new round of meetings of the Contact Group in Minsk on Wednesday and Friday (December 24 and 26, respectively).
“The leaders agreed that it is necessary to fulfill all the provisions of the Minsk agreements, including the ones on ceasefire, on the disengagement line that was fixed in the Memorandum of September 19, on pullout of troops and heavy weaponry, and on immediate release of all hostages,” the press service said.
“The leaders of the four states agreed on next meetings of the Contact Group in Minsk on Wednesday and Friday,” the press service added.
The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire at OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe)-mediated talks on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk. Two weeks later, the Contact Group on Ukraine comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE adopted a memorandum outlining the parameters for the implementation of commitments on the ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.
The document contains nine points, including in particular a ban on the use of all armaments and withdrawal of weapons with the calibres of over 100 millimetres to a distance of 15 kilometres from the contact line from each side. The OSCE was tasked with controlling the implementation of memorandum provisions. The document was signed by OSCE envoy Heidi Tagliavini, Ukraine’s former president Leonid Kuchma, Russia’s Ambassador to Kiev Mikhail Zurabov, DPR Prime Minister Aleksandr Zakharchenko and the head of Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), Igor Plotnitsky.