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PARIS, July 6 /ITAR-TASS/. A ceasefire is the most urgent issue in settling the armed conflict in southeast Ukraine, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Sunday.
“The role of France and Germany is to achieve de-escalation [in Ukraine]. And we are acting in this direction after the Normandy meeting on June 6,” Fabius said in an interview with the Le Journal du Dimanche weekly.
“The most urgent issue is the cessation of combat operations in Ukraine to ensure that a decision on the ceasefire is of long-term nature and be observed by all the parties. However, this is what was not achieved during the latest ceasefire attempt,” Fabiius said.
“Russia has made certain steps in this respect and this should be taken into account. In particular, it has proposed that Ukrainian and OSCE representatives monitor the situation at certain checkpoints on the border with Ukraine,” Fabius said.
“However, subsequent measures should be taken to prevent the illegal transportation of weapons and fighters,” the French top diplomat said.
A political decision can be achieved through a dialog within an international contact group for the settlement of the Ukraine crisis, he said.
“Consent on this issue was achieved in Berlin this week,” the French foreign minister said.
“The conflict’s political settlement is also linked with official Kiev’s actions, in particular, the introduction of amendments to the Constitution to meet the interests of the entire Ukrainian society,” Fabius said.
Hundreds of people have been killed, buildings destroyed and tens of thousands forced to flee Ukraine to Russia as a result of Kiev’s military operation against federalization supporters in Ukraine’s embattled Southeast involving armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation, which has been conducted since mid-April.
Fierce military attacks of the pro-Kiev forces on the country’s southeastern regions resumed after Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko decided to end the 10-day ceasefire in the Southeast on Monday. There were numerous reports that the truce had been repeatedly violated by Kiev.
The Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which border on Russia, held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine. South Ossetia has recognized the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR). No other countries have followed suit so far.