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Normandy Four agreed to extend the Minsk Agreements into 2016

December 30, leaders of Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia held a phone conference and agreed to extend the Minsk Agreements into 2016
Normandy Four agreed to extend the Minsk Agreements into 2016

On Wednesday, the participants of Normandy Four – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin – held a phone conference about the tense and unstable situation in eastern Ukraine. Leaders of the countries agreed that the Minsk Agreements should extended into 2016, Joinfo.ua reports with reference to the press service of the President of Ukraine.

President Poroshenko emphasized  the escalation of the situation in Donbas over the last weeks and underlined that non-implementation of the Minsk agreements by Russia and Russia-backed militants is unacceptable. He also said that the OSCE must obtain full access to the entire occupied territory, including the border, and all occupation troops must be withdrawn from the territory of Ukraine.

“The sides agreed on the need for a complete cease-fire. They called to intensify the work in the Trilateral Contact Group on the preparation of the local elections in some territories of Donetsk and Lugansk regions at the beginning of 2016 to on the modalities of the local elections in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) should be involved in these activities,”- said in a statement.

President Poroshenko  emphasized that it is necessary to cancel fake “elections,” which pro-Russian militants have scheduled. Once again, he underlined that the elections in Donbas should be held with the participation of the Ukrainian parties, media, the Central Election Commission, international observers and be conducted in accordance with the ODIHR/OSCE standards.

To maintain order and ensure security during the electoral process, the President of Ukraine proposed to deploy an EU special peacekeeping mission in the occupied areas of Donbas in the framework of the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy.

President Poroshenko highlighted the necessity of providing immediate access to the occupied territories for all international humanitarian missions, including the International Committee of the Red Cross and “Doctors Without Borders”.

The sides agreed that the next meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Normandy Group should take place in late January 2016.

President Petro Poroshenko urged to release all Ukrainian hostages, including those illegally detained in Russia, in particular Nadiya Savchenko and Oleh Sentsov.

It should be recalled that the term of the Minsk Agreements expires tomorrow December 31, 2015.