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Russia doing its utmost to have Contact Group on Ukraine meet early next week

January 19, 2015, 1:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Russian Foreign Ministry also called to immediately stop combat operations and resume the regime of ‘silence.’
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MOSCOW, January 18. /TASS/. Russia is paring no effort to organize another meeting of the Contact Group on the Ukrainian settlement at the very beginning of the next week, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.

“We call on its participants and all those who has influence on the situation in Ukraine to spare no effort not to let frustrate the Group’s next meeting,” he ministry said in a statement posted on its official website.

The ministry stressed the Russia side was calling on the parties to strictly abide by the Minsk agreements of the Ukrainian settlement. “The Russian side demands strict compliance with the Minsk agreements on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. This task is central to our contacts with the leaders of Ukraine and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics /DPR and LPR/, and with representatives of foreign countries concerned, including the Normandy format,” the ministry said.

In a bid to agree practical ways to implement the Minsk agreement, DPR and LPR representatives arrived in Minsk to attend a regular meeting of the Contact Group that was supposed to be held on January 16, but Kiev sent no representative and the meeting was frustrated, the ministry noted.

The Russian foreign ministry said it was worried over Ukraine’s building up its military presence in Donbass in violation of the Minsk agreements, which was evidenced by the “hyper militarization, declaration of “new waves” of mobilization and Kiev’s calls to avenge for the situation that had formed before the Minsk agreements in September 2014.”

The ministry said that Russian President Vladimir Putin on January 15 sent a message to his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko calling on the parties to the conflict to observe the regime of ‘silence’ and agreement on pulling out heavy weaponry from the contact line drawn according to the coordinates the Ukrainian side insisted on.

“Russia will be ready to use its influence on (DPR and LPR) militias to convince them to accept this option as a sign of their good will in order to avoid further casualties among civilians,” the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed.

Concrete proposals on hour-by-hour schedule of heavy weapon’s withdrawal were handed over to the Ukrainian side within the framework of the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC).

“So far no response to Putin’s message has been received. The Ukrainian military have turned down his proposals and resumed artillery shelling of Donetsk threatening the lives of civilian population and monitors from the Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE),” the ministry underscored.

The ministry also called to immediately stop combat operations and resume the regime of ‘silence.’ A special role in this process, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, is to be played by the OSCE mission.

“We urge all members of the international community to demand that Kiev authorities abandon the logic of confrontation, drop its course towards the use of force in southeastern Ukraine, and ultimately fulfill its liabilities to launch a comprehensive constitutional reform with equal participation of all regions of the country,” the Russian foreign ministry stressed.

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