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EU foreign policy chief calls to prevent further escalation of east Ukraine conflict

The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire at OSCE-mediated talks on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk

BRUSSELS, November 10. /TASS/. All parties to the conflict in Ukraine should display restraint and do everything possible to avoid a new escalation of hostilities, the European Union’s new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said Sunday.

Mogherini also said all parties to the intra-Ukrainian conflict should strictly observe their commitments under the Minsk protocol and memorandum and resume a search for a stable peace settlement on the basis of respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The EU foreign policy chief expressed concern over the latest reports on the situation in eastern Ukraine drafted by the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), including ones on militiamen receiving heavy armaments.

Mogherini called on Russia to use its influence to ensure that militiamen in eastern Ukraine honor their commitments under the Minsk deals.

According to the United Nations, more than 4,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled Ukraine’s southeast as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions during Kiev’s military operation, conducted since mid-April, to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics.

The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire at OSCE-mediated talks on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.

The ceasefire took effect the same day but has reportedly occasionally been violated.

On September 19 in Minsk, the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE adopted a memorandum outlining the parameters for the implementation of commitments on the ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.

The document contains nine points, including in particular a ban on the use of all armaments and withdrawal of weapons with the calibers of over 100 millimeters to a distance of 15 kilometers from the contact line from each side. The OSCE was tasked with controlling the implementation of memorandum provisions.