MINSK, August 26. /TASS/. The participants of the Contact Group on settlement of the situation in Donbass have agreed to cease fire by September 1, Ambassador Martin Sajdik, the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group on the implementation of the peace plan in the east of Ukraine, said Wednesday after the meeting.
Sajdik said it is necessary to do everything possible to ensure security of schools on the disengagement line between east Ukrainian militiamen and Ukraine's troops.
Plenipotentiary representative of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) Vladislav Deinego confirmed Wednesday after talks in Minsk that all participants of the Contact Group expressed the intention to achieve cessation of fire in Donbass by September 1.
"The proposal received a response from all sides, and there is hope that shelling will be stopped from September 1," Deinego said.
In turn, plenipotentiary representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Denis Pushilin stressed that "after the meeting in Berlin [of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French and Ukrainian presidents Francois Hollande and Pyotr Poroshenko on August 24] we expected more".
"Currently there is progress in the negotiating process, many constructive thoughts and proposals have been voiced. We have the hope that it will be put in writing. On the whole, I would like to say that there is progress and continuation of the working progress on all subgroups," Pushilin said.
"As regards specific things, a rather balanced proposal to completely stop shelling by September 1 has been voiced. It won the support from nearly all parties," he said.
Massive shelling of residential neighborhoods, including with the use of aviation, has killed thousands and led to a humanitarian disaster in east Ukraine since Kiev in April 2014 announced the start of an "antiterrorism operation" there, which involved the Armed Forces, the Interior Ministry’s National Guard and volunteer battalions made up of Euromaidan activists, many of whom hold far-right and neo-Nazi views.
Ukraine has regularly violated the ceasefire regime imposed as part of the Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk Agreements.
The Package (Minsk-2) was signed on February 12, 2015 in the Belarusian capital Minsk by participants of the Contact Group on settlement in Donbass.
The Package, earlier agreed with the leaders of the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) envisioned an overwhelming cessation of fire and withdrawal of heavy armaments to create a security area in the region at least 50 kilometers wide.
The constitutional reform and decentralization of power in Ukraine were also among the document’s key provisions, just as establishment of working subgroups.
The subgroups focus on four areas: economic issues and restoration of facilities; refugees, internally displaced persons and humanitarian assistance; political issues; security issues.
The situation in eastern Ukraine has deteriorated in recent weeks, with the number of reports on shelling and civilian deaths increasing. The Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics have repeatedly said that the observance of the ceasefire that took effect February 15 depends solely on the Ukrainian side.