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20 Ukraine troops set free within implementation of Minsk protocol — president

September 08, 2014, 21:33 UTC+3 KIEV
The president underscored the importance of OSCE mission’s participation in monitoring the Ukrainian-Russian border
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KIEV, September 08. /ITAR-TASS/. Within the framework of the Minsk protocol, 20 Ukrainian troops were released on Monday, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said during his visit to the civil defense headquarters in the sea port of Mariupol.

The protocol signed in Minsk consists of 12 points, Poroshenko said “but two things are important for us - to withdraw troops and to regain control over the border.”

The president underscored the importance of OSCE mission’s participation in monitoring the Ukrainian-Russian border.

Speaking about Ukraine’s defense sector, Poroshenko said that the country’s army needed modernisation.

“It is not a question of weapons,” he said. “They are issues of cooperation for rearming our army. We need a modern army as we are speaking about freedom and independence of the whole Europe rather than about only Ukraine’s freedom.”

The trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine (Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE) and representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics (DPR and LPR) reached an agreement in Minsk on Friday on cessation of fire in Ukraine’s embattled southeast, troops withdrawal, exchange of prisoners and provision of humanitarian aid.

The Contact Group’s meeting came two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested his seven-item plan to settle the crisis in Ukraine after a phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday.

The OSCE published the text of the protocol on joint steps to settle the crisis in Ukraine, adopted September 5, on Sunday. The document contains 12 steps, including non-use of weapons and monitoring of the ceasefire regime by the OSCE, as well as establishment of a safety zone in border regions between Ukraine and Russia.

The document also says power should be decentralized in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine (DPR and LPR), hostages freed, combat operations participants given guarantees that they will not be prosecuted and nationwide dialogue continued.

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