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Contact Group on Ukraine calls for immediate release of hostages

August 01, 2014, 2:29 UTC+3 VIENNA

Contact Group will hold another meeting next week

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© ИТАР-ТАСС/ Александр Рюмин

VIENNA, July 31, 23:21 /ITAR-TASS/. The Trilateral Contact Group of senior representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Thursday called for an immediate release of hostages and other persons detained during the conflict in the south-eastern regions of Ukraine.

“As a first step, they committed to the immediate release of a sizable number of persons deprived of freedom,” the OSCE said in a statement after the meeting in Minsk, Belarus.

“The Contact Group reiterated that the release of hostages and other illegally detained persons is an important element for securing a mutually agreed and sustainable cease-fire,” the document said.

Among other steps it named “effective control and verification on the border between Ukraine and the Russian Federation”.

Militia leaders fighting in Ukraine and key players seeking to resolve the conflict have agreed on steps to secure a ceasefire, release of hostages and access to investigators probing the Malaysian aircraft disaster, Belarus Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

Agreements were reached in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, at a meeting of an international contact group formed on the initiative of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in mediating moves supported by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

The group comprises former Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma, Russia's ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and the Organization for Security and Co-operation (OSCE) in Europe's special envoy to Ukraine, Heidi Tagliavini.

A statement after the meeting said representatives had committed to securing safe access for international investigators into the Malaysian aircraft crash until their work at the location was completed. Delegates had welcomed news that observers and investigators gained access on July 31, the ministry said.

Accords were also reported on freedom for hostages, procedures for OSCE ceasefire monitoring and better control and verification on the Ukraine-Russia border.

The Contact Group will hold another meeting next week.

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