MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. Russia is ready to actively support the work of the OSCE mission in Ukraine, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has already "started work to define modalities and concrete steps" to ensure the implementation of the Minsk peace deal, agreed by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany in the Belarusian capital last week, "first of all, in terms of monitoring the ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons", Lukashevich said.
"These tasks should be solved by the OSCE special monitoring mission, working in Ukraine since March last year," he said, noting also that "point ten of these agreements envisages a withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under monitoring of the OSCE."
As for local elections in east Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions, outlined in the Minsk deal, Lukashevich stressed that elections "will be held in accordance with relevant OSCE standards and monitored by the organization’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights."
Last Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a marathon negotiating session in Minsk seeking to reach political settlement on the future of eastern Ukraine.
The agreement, announced after more than 16 hours of all-night discussions, called for a ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and people’s militias starting on February 15, followed by withdrawal of heavy weapons by both sides.