Contact Group begins Minsk meeting on settling Donbass crisis

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MINSK, February 13. /TASS/. Participants of the Contact Group on settling the crisis in eastern Ukraine started their meeting in the Belarusian capital Minsk, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

“Minsk is hosting a meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group on settling the crisis in eastern Ukraine,” the ministry wrote on Twitter.

Tuesday marked the fourth anniversary since the Package of Measures on implementing the Minsk agreements was signed. The document lays the basis for a peaceful settlement in Donbass.

On occasion of the anniversary, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine Martin Sajdik said in a statement that despite unanimous re-commitments to the Minsk peace deal, “a solution to the conflict has not yet come nearer.” “In the region, confrontations are still ongoing, causing suffering to the civilian population and losses of human lives although their number was considerably reduced in the course of last year,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sajdik, who recently put forward a new plan of settling the conflict in Donbass, namely a proposal to involve police forces of the UN and the EU in the peace process, stressed that the Minsk deal’s implementation is crucial for the settlement.

The Minsk agreements reached on February 12, 2015 by the Normandy Four leaders envisaged ceasefire and also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions. The Ukrainian forces and militias of the self-proclaimed republics have repeatedly accused each other of violating ceasefire and other points of the Minsk agreements.

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