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Contact Group on Ukraine confirms commitment to Easter ceasefire

April 12, 2017, 19:16 UTC+3 MINSK

The Contact Group on settling the situation in eastern Ukraine has concluded its meeting in Monsk

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MINSK, April 12. /TASS/. The Contact Group on settling the situation in eastern Ukraine has concluded its meeting in the Belarusian capital of Minsk.

Prisoner exchanges

Prisoner exchanges in Donbass might break the impasse given the Ukrainian parliament’s commissioner for human rights is engaged in verifying the prisoner lists in Donbass, Commissioner Valeriya Lutkovskaya told TASS, referring to Wednesday’s meeting of the Contact Group seeking to find a solution to the Donbass conflict.

"I did send this proposal to Irina Gerashchenko (about the commissioner’ involvement in verification of prisoner lists - TASS), who is the Ukrainian presidential envoy for humanitarian issues (at the Contact Group). Today I have received information that this initiative is being discussed at the Trilateral Group’s meeting in Minsk."

The Ukrainian commissioner for human rights said that the proposal aimed to break "the deadlock in the negotiations" and that in the given situation she "is eager it will be unblocked in the shortest time."

In case the Contact Group backs the proposal, Lutkovskaya is ready "to do so (verify the lists -TASS) in the shortest time," since she has regional representatives "who are capable of entering any detention facility where a person is held."

"The tactics and strategy of the process are routine to us since under the law on ombudspersons of the UN Human Rights Council, the commissioner’s envoys are granted the right to confidentially communicate with any person in the area under control."

Easter ceasefire

The Contact Group on settling the situation in eastern Ukraine has confirmed its commitment to the Easter ceasefire at Wednesday’s meeting, said Boris Gryzlov, Russia’s representative to the Contact Group.

"The Contact Group has confirmed its commitment to the Eastern ceasefire," he pointed out.

At the previous meeting of the Contact Group, held on March 29, its members adopted a statement introducing a complete ceasefire in Donbass starting from April 1 ahead of the Easter celebrations. However, according to the sources in the self-proclaimed Donbass republics, the Ukrainian military was able to abide by the ceasefire only for an hour as it shelled the Kalinovka settlement at 01:20 on April 1.

Since then, attacks on areas adjacent to the line of contact have been continuing. In the past few days, the Ukrainian military’s shelling killed two female civilians in the Petrovsky District of Donetsk, besides, one militiaman of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) was killed and another one was left wounded. Residential dwellings were destroyed in Donetsk, Dokuchayevsk and the Yasnoye settlement, power lines and an electrical substation in Donetsk, as well as a gas pipeline in Dokuchayevsk, were damaged.

This year, Orthodox Christians will celebrate Easter on April 16.

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