MINSK, September 05. /ITAR-TASS/. The Contact Group on Ukraine on Friday agreed on the key issues - cessation of fire, troops withdrawal, prisoner exchange and provision of humanitarian aid, OSCE Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini told journalists.
Working groups from both sides will be established by Monday, September 8, to solve specific issues, former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma said after the meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk. Kuchma also said the first humanitarian cargo will depart to south-east Ukraine on Saturday.
A second humanitarian convoy will be sent to eastern Ukraine after the demining of territories along its route is over, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov said.
Zurabov said that before dispatching, relief aid efforts would be taken to clear humanitarian corridors of mines. “Humanitarian aid will be delivered via these corridors. The second humanitarian convoy will be sent within days,” he told journalists.
The future status of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics (DPR and LPR) was not discussed at the meeting, LPR Prime Minister Igor Plotnitsky said. “We did not have time to get down to that issue because we focused our attention on ceasefire,” Plotnitsky went on to say.
“We were not sure we would be able to reach an agreement when we were on our way (to Minsk). But during the talks we understood that there were humans involved on both sides of the conflict. We need to create conditions for these people to return home,” Plotnitsky said after the meeting. He also called for stopping the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine and pledged to do everything to achieve the assigned goals through talks.
Alexander Zakharchenko, the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, described the ceasefire agreement as the main achievement made in Minsk. “We are conscientiously stopping the offensive. Not a single human life should be sacrificed to anybody’s ambitions,” Zakharchenko said.
The Contact Group assembles former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Alexander Zakharchenko, head of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) Igor Plotnitsky, Russian ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, and Heidi Tagliavini, representing the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).