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UN says this year offers chances to resolve conflict in eastern Ukraine

Frozen conflict, escalation of armed actions with possible interference of external forces or the achievement of peace in the country are the three possible scenarios for eastern Ukraine

UNITED NATIONS, January 13. /TASS/. The United Nations is convinced that this year is offering a “window of opportunities” to fulfill a plan on resolving the months-long conflict in Ukraine by peaceful means, a spokesman for the global organization has said.

The UN Secretariat sees three scenarios for the development of the situation in eastern Ukraine in 2015: a frozen conflict, an escalation of armed actions with a possible interference of external forces or the achievement of peace in the country.

The spokesman said the resolution of the crisis is still possible and the Minsk agreements signed between Kiev and Ukraine's self-proclaimed people's republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in September offer the best prospect for reaching this aim.

He warned that reciprocal sanctions between Russia and the European Union could play a role in deteriorating the situation in Ukraine and lead to completely opposite results. Sanctions may also serve as an impetus for Russia and the EU for searching for a formula that would help to solve the situation and save the face, he said.

Normandy format meeting in Berlin states Minsk accords basis for peace in Ukraine

Berlin conference of foreign ministers of the so-called ‘Normandy format’ countries that was held on Monday stated that the Minsk accords reached in September 2014 were the basis for settling the conflict in Ukraine.

“We had an all-embracing discussion of the situation in Ukraine, including in the context of a possible summit in Astana,” Lavrov said. “First, the conference reaffirmed unbending commitment to a comprehensive and explicitly peaceful settlement of the current crisis in Ukraine, including the start of a steady political process.”

“We reaffirmed that the Minsk accords, which should be implemented by all the parties in full, lay the groundwork for resolving the conflict,” he said. “The meeting stated the importance of honoring all the aspects of ceasefire.”

Lavrov confirmed the ministers had called on the Contact Group for settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine to meet in the next few days for the purpose of moving ahead towards full-scale observance of the Minsk agreements.

In this context, he said conditions should be set up for an efficient ceasefire, coordination of relief supplies and continued release of prisoners of war.

“According to the ministers’ assessments, this will set the scene for a successful summit in Astana /capital of Kazakhstan/,” Lavrov said. “We agreed it’s necessary to continue work in that area.”

According to the latest UN figures, as a result of the conflict in eastern Ukraine since April a total of 4,800 people have been killed and around 10,500 people have been wounded. Another 634,000 people have become internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 594,000 people have fled to neighboring countries. Some 5.2 million people are still staying in the conflict zone and 1.4 million people need humanitarian aid.

In an interview with France 24 television channel on Monday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the conflict in eastern Ukraine would be over in two weeks if the parties observed all key provisions of the Minsk agreements.

The Donetsk republic leadership said this is a “pure bluff” as Poroshenko cannot control the military.