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Contact Group agrees on statement calling for ceasefire in Donbass

At the Minsk meeting on Wednesday, the participants of the Contact Group discussed the escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine

MINSK, February 1. /TASS/. Participants of the Contact Group at the meeting in Minsk on Wednesday agreed on a statement with the call for ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, envoy of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic to the talks Vladislav Deinego said.

"The group worked on the draft aimed at stabilizing the situation in Donbass and finally agreed on a text of statement with the call to stop fire that was announced by coordinator (of the OSCE in the Contact Group) Martin Sajdik after the meeting," Deinego was quoted by the LuganskInformCenter as saying.

At the Minsk meeting on Wednesday, the participants of the Contact Group discussed the escalation of violence in Donbass and the serious humanitarian situation in the conflict zone.

Over the past days, the situation near the line separating the areas controlled by the Kiev government and the self-proclaimed republics of eastern Ukraine has deteriorated. The shellings conducted by the Ukrainian forces have resulted in casualties among the civilians. Many houses and infrastructure facilities were damaged.

The UN Security Council expressed grave concern over the "dangerous deterioration" of the situation in eastern Ukraine and its severe impact on the local civilian population and called for an immediate return to ceasefire. The UNSC members condemned the use of weapons banned under the February 2015 Minsk peace deal.

Safe access to OSCE monitors

The Contact Group has demanded safe access for OSCE monitors to the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine, the OSCE’s special representative in the group, Martin Sajdik, said after Wednesday’s meeting.

Sajdik said "the access for members of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission should be safe and reliable." He also called to "provide assistance to humanitarian efforts on restoring water and energy supply and also the heating, including carrying out repair and restoration works at the infrastructure facilities."

Withdrawal of weapons and military hardware

Participants of the Contact Group on settlement in Donbass agreed to withdraw weapons and military hardware to the storage facilities by Sunday, according to Sajdik.

"The Trilateral Contact Group jointly with the representatives of certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine (DPR and LPR) calls to withdraw weapons banned under the Minsk agreements" from the area of the Donetsk airport, Avdeyevka and Yasinovataya and the entire contact line, Sajdik said.

Restoration of infrastructure

The Contact Group for a settlement in the east of Ukraine has called for fast restoration of ruined infrastructures in Donbass, Sajdik said.

"We are for providing assistance to humanitarian efforts to restore water and power supply, and also heating and for repair works on all infrastructures," he said.