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MOSCOW, July 24. /TASS/. Leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France Ukraine held a four-way phone call late on Thursday to discuss the implementation of the Minsk ceasefire agreements reached in February taking into account the outcome of Tuesday’s talks between representatives of the Contact Group and its working subgroups, the Kremlin press service said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande "expressed satisfaction that the working group for security issues managed to agree on the text of a document on pulling out tanks and mortars with a calibre under 120 mm to 15 kilometres away from the line of contact after the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic had voluntarily announced the start of unilateral withdrawal of weapons with a calibre under 100 mm and got down to its practical implementation," the Kremlin said, adding that the leaders emphasised the importance of signing and implementing the document, which supplements the Minsk package of measures signed in the Belarussian capital on February 12.
The leaders of the four countries once again confirmed the need for all sides to strictly observe the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and to set up demilitarised zones under control of the OSCE special monitoring mission to Ukraine.
Putin reiterated that a lasting and comprehensive settlement of the Ukrainian crisis would be impossible without establishing direct dialogue between the authorities in Kiev and representatives of east Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk republics.
The leaders exchanged views on possible steps to resolve a number of most pressing social, economic and humanitarian problems in the Donbass region.
They also discussed issues related to Russian gas supplies to Ukraine and agreed to continue work in the Normandy format at various levels, the Kremlin said.
The Contact Group comprising senior representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on February 12, 2015, signed a 13-point Complex of Measures to fulfil the September 2014 Minsk agreements.
The Complex of Measures (Minsk-2), earlier agreed in the Belarusian capital with leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias starting from February 15.
This was to be followed by withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of military engagement by at least 15 kilometres (9 miles), prisoner release and agreement for international observers sent by the 57 member states of the OSCE to monitor the truce.
Based on September’s stillborn Minsk peace protocol, the deal also laid out a road map for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give the war-torn eastern regions more autonomy.
Among the terms of the February 12 deal was a commitment to intensify the work of the Contact Group. Four subgroups, tasked with addressing security, political, economic and humanitarian issues, are expected to advance work by the Contact Group in activating elements of the Minsk deal.