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Donetsk republic calls for face-to-face meeting of Contact Group on Ukraine

March 07, 2015, 20:42 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, 7 March. /TASS/. Self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) calls for a face-to-face meeting of the Contact Group on resolving the Ukraine conflict so as not to disrupt the process of settlement, the DPR envoy at the Minsk talks Denis Pushilin said on Saturday.

"We call on all the participants and guarantors of the Minsk process to organise a face-to-face meeting of the Contact Group so as not to disrupt the settlement process and to give a constructive impetus to practical steps in line with the package of measures on implementation of the Minsk agreements," reads Pushilin’s statement posted on the Donetsk news agency website.

On Friday, Ukraine's former President Leonid Kuchma said it was time to convene a new meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk.

"We do not exclude a possibility of such a meeting," Kuchma said. "All the negotiating sides agreed that a next in person meeting of the Contact Group and representatives of certain parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in Minsk has been budding."

The leader of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic said on Friday the Contact Group that brings together Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe /OSCE/ would hold a meeting only after outlining concrete proposals for discussion.

On February 12 marathon talks between the Normandy Four leaders - Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko - in Minsk yielded a package of agreements, which in particular envisaged ceasefire between the Ukrainian conflicting sides starting from midnight on February 15.

Simultaneously, the Belarusian capital hosted a meeting of the Contact Group which members signed a four-page package of measures on implementation of the Minsk agreements

The document was signed by OSCE Special Representative Heidi Tagliavini, Ukraine’s former President Leonid Kuchma, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, alongside leaders of the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky.

The first point of the document sets condition for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire beginning from midnight on February 15. The conflicting parties agreed on withdrawal of all heavy weapons with the Ukrainian troops pulled back away from the current line of contact, and the militias of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions - from the line set by the Minsk memorandum of September 19, 2014.

The other provisions stipulate the release and exchange of all prisoners and illegally held persons on the "all for all" principle, withdrawal of all foreign armed groups and mercenaries from Ukraine under OSCE supervision.

Later on, the Contact Group has held just online conferences. The latest one took place on Tuesday, March 3.

LPR Plenipotentiary Representative at the Minsk talks Vladislav Deinego said then that the heavy weapons withdrawal from the line of contact and exchanges of prisoners were on the table. Also, representatives of the self-proclaimed republics submitted a proposal on establishing a work group on practical steps in line with the package of measures on implementation of the Minsk agreements.

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