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MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. Contact Group seeking to find a solution to the conflict in Ukraine’s east has failed to come to any agreement on the Donetsk water purification plant as the four-hour talks were blocked by Kiev, said a spokesperson of Denis Pushilin, the DPR envoy to the Minsk talks.
"During the Contact Group’s video conference, the Ukrainian side rejected any agreements to normalize the situation along the contact line, including near the Donetsk water purification plant," Viktoriya Talakina said in a statement on Saturday.
"Withdrawals of weapons, approved at the last meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk and supported by foreign ministers of the Normandy Four group, became impossible today," she said. "In addition, appeals for a ceasefire remained unheeded."
Earlier, Eduard Basurin, defense spokesman of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), said that militants from Ukrainian nationalist armed units captured facilities of the Donetsk water purification plant in early hours of Saturday.
The water purification plant is located between Avdeyevka and Yasinovataya. The plant supplies water to settlements on either side of the front line, including Donetsk, Yasinovataya, Vasilyevka and Spartak controlled by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), and Avdeyevka, Krasnogorovka and Verkhnetoretskoye controlled by Kiev. In the course of the continuing armed conflict, the plant has been under shelling many times already.
On February 1, members the Contact Group on settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine held a meeting in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, demanding that hostilities in Donbass be stopped, weapons and military hardware be withdrawn from the line of contact area by February 5. However, the Ukrainian military has not implemented the decisions of the Contact Group.
On February 15, the Contact Group made a decision that all weapons banned by the Minsk agreements should be withdrawn from the line of contact by February 20. Foreign ministers of the four member states of the Normandy Quartet (Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine) upheld this initiative at a meeting held on February 18.
However, on February 21, Kiev derailed the weapons withdrawal process.