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Obama urges eastern Ukraine to observe ceasefire — White House

March 15, 2016, 8:49 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

The US leader urged to provide monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) with unfettered access to militia-controlled areas

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WASHINGTON, March 15. /TASS/. President of the United States Barack Obama said in his conversation with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that it was necessary for militia in the southeast Ukraine to observe earlier undertaken ceasefire commitments, according to a statement from the White House.

"President Obama emphasized the need for combined Russian-separatist forces to implement the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and to provide monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) with unfettered access to separatist-controlled areas, including the Russia-Ukraine border," the statement said.

Commenting on the talks between the Russian and the US leaders, the Kremlin said in its statement that President Putin reiterated the necessity for Kiev authorities to stick to the implementation of the Minsk Accords.

"Discussing the situation in Ukraine, the Russian president stressed that it was necessary for the Ukrainian authorities to implement all of its obligations undertaken under the Minsk Accords," the Kremlin said in the statement.

Two weeks ago the French capital of Paris hosted the talks of the Normandy Four group (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine), set up to settle the ongoing Ukrainian conflict, at the level of foreign ministers.

The ministers failed to agree on a timeframe for the elections in Ukraine’s southeastern region of Donbass. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said his Ukrainian counterpart Pavel Klimkin opposed a proposal on setting election date for June. As a result, no action plan on the implementation of the political agenda was agreed upon.

The sides, however, managed to reach an agreement and set specific tasks for the Contact Group. The Normandy Four urged the parties to create by April 30 a mechanism for prevention of ceasefire violations in Donbass.

Proposals on ensuring security measures at elections in the southeastern Ukrainian region should be submitted to the OSCE (the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) by March 31.

Another agreement concerns the release of prisoners of war. The Normandy Four called on the conflicting sides in Donbass to hold the exchange of prisoners by April 30, 2016. This effort must take place under international control. The access of international observers to all prisoners should be simultaneously ensured.

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