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BRUSSELS, September 06, /ITAR-TASS/. The European Union welcomes the ceasefire agreement the contact group for Ukraine achieved in Minsk on Friday, the European External Action Service said in a statement on Friday.
"We welcome the agreement on a ceasefire reached in Minsk today at the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group. The ceasefire agreement must now be respected and fully implemented by all sides,” the document runs.
“We hope that this will be a first step towards a sustainable political solution, based on respect for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“Permanent monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian border and withdrawal of illegal armed groups and forces illegally operating on Ukrainian territory should be integral parts of such a solution,” the statement points out.
“The EU stands ready to support any efforts related to the implementation of the ceasefire, including through the OSCE. We will continue to follow closely the developments on the ground.”
The contact group for Ukraine produced accord on three fundamental issues - the cessation of hostilities and troop withdrawal, exchange of prisoners of war and the delivery of humanitarian aide, OSCE’s Heidi Tagliavini told the media in Minsk.
Russia’s ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov said that a special infrastructure for the monitoring and control of the ceasefire would be created.
“All provisions of the agreement are reflected in the memorandum, which was discussed with our negotiating partners. There are no insurmountable obstacles,” Zurabov said.
A group of experts will be formed within a three-day deadline to scrutinize the memorandum and produce a common decision.
“As soon as the document is finalized, it will be presented to Kiev and the other negotiating partners for approval,” he said.
In the meantime, the Ukrainian authorities and the heads of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics have announced their intention to hold a video conference via the Internet on Monday, September 8 to discuss an exchange of prisoners of war, a source close to the Minsk contact group’s meeting told ITAR-TASS.
“I believe that the negotiations will make specific decisions concerning the prisoners of war,” he said.
Russia’s ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov said after the contact group’s meeting that the exchange of “all for all” was high on the agenda of the contact group.
Also, the distance conference due on Monday will raise the issue of creating humanitarian corridors and humanitarian aid hubs.
Ukraine’s former president, Leonid Kuchma, has said the first humanitarian cargoes should be dispatched as early as Saturday. However, Zurabov explained that Russia’s second truck convoy with humanitarian supplies might head for the southeast of Ukraine when only the areas on the way have been cleared of mines and unexploded ammunition.
In Moscow, Russia’s human rights commissioner Ella Pamfilova said Friday’s agreements achieved in Minsk, if honoured, would save many lives.
“Compliance with that agreement is the best one can hope for in the current situation. It is excellent that such an agreement has been signed. If it is observed, very many lives will be saved,” Pamfilova said on her official website.