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Ukraine Contact Group members agree to release over 50 people on both sides of conflict

January 13, 19:42 UTC+3
The spokeswoman also wrote Kiev has supported the proposal voiced by Russia’s representative in the Contact Group for a settlement of the conflict in Donbas on the immediate ceasefire
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© EPA/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO

KIEV, January 13 /TASS/. Members of the Contact Group for Ukraine settlement have agreed to release more than 50 people on both sides of the Donbas conflict in days to come, Darya Olifer, a spokesperson for Leonid Kuchma who represents the Kiev government at the Contact Group’s talks, said on Wednesday.

"All the sides have agreed to release more than 50 people on both sides in the near future. The injured and seriously ill people as well as women will be released first," Olifer wrote on her page in Facebook.

Martin Sajdik, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine has confirmed the information.

"There is an agreement to release 50 people from both sides," Sajdik said after the Contact Group’s meeting.

He added that the sides had pledged to provide more concrete information on prisoner exchanges no later than next week.

The spokeswoman also wrote Kiev has supported the proposal voiced by Russia’s representative in the Contact Group for a settlement of the conflict in Donbas on the immediate ceasefire.

"Ukraine welcomes Russian representative Boris Gryzlov’s initiative for declaring a ceasefire, which would be effective immediately," Olifer wrote on her page.

The OSCE representative has also confirmed that the Contact Group called for immediate ceasefire in Donba as of 00:00 January 14.

Since the autumn of 2014 the negotiating parties have concluded ceasefire agreements six times. Last time the hostilities were paused on December 22, 2015 for the period of holidays.

The just-ended Contact Group meeting was the first this year. On New Year’s Eve the Normandy Quartet leaders agreed to prolong for 2016 the operation of the Minsk Accords and noted the importance of further efforts by the Contact Group for the sake of their full and comprehensive implementation.

"The fundamental need was emphasized for strict observance of ceasefire in Donbas and for the advancement of political settlement. It was agreed to finalize a law on local elections in certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions by the end of January and to hold the elections in the first half of 2016.

Contact Group agrees on demining 12 facilities in Donbas

 The Contact Group has agreed that demining efforts should be intensified at twelve facilities in Donbas, as follows from a statement by Kiev’s representative at the humanitarian working subgroup Irina Gerashchenko.

"The process to remove mines from twelve key infrastructural facilities has been accelerated," Gerashchenko posted on her Facebook account.

Besides, she said that the Contact Group participants had confirmed that "in a span of few days over 50 citizens will be set free."

"The figure includes those who are to be released by both sides," she said. "We have offered concrete proposals."

 

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