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LUHANSK, March 3. /TASS/. Representatives of the Contact Group on the Ukraine crisis will hold a video conference on Wednesday or Thursday, an official from east Ukraine’s self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic said on Tuesday.
"The next video conference will take place tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow," Vladislav Deinego, Luhansk envoy to peace talks seeking to ease the conflict in Ukraine’s east, told TASS.
Deinego recalled that the Contact Group that brings together Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had already held talks earlier in the day.
During Tuesday’s video conference the parties "discussed withdrawal of heavy weapons and exchange of hostages," he said, noting that a proposal had been put forward to establish a working group for the implementation of relevant aspects of the agreements reached in Minsk last month, including constitutional reform in Ukraine, economic and humanitarian issues, and exchange of prisoners.
It is difficult to say now what the working group would look like because representatives of the contact group are examining our proposal at the moment, Deinego added.
Denis Pushilin, envoy of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, said after the video conference on Tuesday the Ukrainian side refused to appoint its representatives to specialised departments of the Contact Group on Ukraine settlement, while both unrecognized republics had already appointed theirs.
On February 12, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko, Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel, held a marathon negotiating session in Minsk, Belarus, seeking to reach political settlement in the future of eastern Ukraine.
Simultaneously, the Belarusian capital hosted a Contact Group meeting attended by former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and Kiev’s special envoy for humanitarian issues leader of Ukrainsky Vybor (Ukrainian Choice) public organization Viktor Medvedchuk, both representing the Ukrainian side, alongside the heads of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics, Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky, OSCE special envoy for Ukraine Heidi Tagliavini, and Russia’s ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, who acted as a mediator.
The meetings produced a package of measures to implement the Minsk agreements, including ceasefire in certain areas of east Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions starting from February 15, withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line and measures for long-term political settlement of the conflict in Ukraine.