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MOSCOW, December 24. /TASS/. The third stage in the settlement of the crisis in eastern Ukraine will begin in January, with experts saying it will either result in the final settlement or will completely freeze the conrflict, a report of the Centre for Political Studies presented at a roundtable on Minsk agreements at Tass on Thursday.
At the initial stage launched with the signing of the first Minsk agreement on September 5 and ending on September 19, 2014, basic frameworks of agreements were formed and the process of the implementation of regulatory terms was launched.
At the stabilization stage between February 12 and December 31, 2015, mechanisms were finally formed for a full-scale political dialogue and towards the settlement of concrete issues of the settlement.
The third stage "will either lead to a real end of the conflict or will finally freeze it," the report said. Experts mark that the substantive framework of the third stage should be determined in accordance with the Package of Measures, "in which the absolute majority of points have not only remained topical, but also remain the only possible condition for a compromise between the sides."
The report also marked a serious worsening of the situation on all political points of the Package of Measures. "The bulk of the work is assessed as ‘not started or not brought to the end’," it said. First of all this concerns political issues (status of certain areas, amendments to the Constitution, legislation on elections), the problem of restoration of social and economic ties and an amnesty," the document added.
The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising senior representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE on February 12, 2015, signed a 13-point Package of Measures to fulfil the September 2014 Minsk agreements. The package was agreed with the leaders of the Normandy Four, namely Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine.
The Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Luhansk starting from February 15 and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.
On September 29, a supplement to the Package of Measures on Implementing the Minsk Agreements from 12 February 2015 was agreed at a meeting of the Contact Group on settlement the Ukrainian crisis, which was organised in Minsk. The supplement envisages withdrawal of tanks, artillery weapons of less than 100mm calibre, and mortars of equal to or less than 120mm calibre to a distance of 15 kilometres from the contact line in Donbas.