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Peace talks in Minsk: Trilateral Contact Group agreed to prolong cease-fire in Donbas

At the meeting in Minsk on Wedneday the Trilateral Contact Group agreed to prolong the cease-fire in Donbas, continued to seek a political solution
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On January 13, the Trilateral Contact Group held a meeting in Belarusian capital on the settlement of the situation in the eastern Ukraine, Joinfo.ua reports. According to the information posted on Facebook by Darka Olifer, the press secretary of the ex-president Leonid Kuchma, the representative of Ukraine in the Trilateral Contact Group.

“This year’s first meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk is complete,” – Ms Olifer wrote.

She said that “full and unconditional cease-fire in Donbas remains essential for the return of peace to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions”.

According to Ms Olifer, the Ukrainian side stated with great regret that the regime of silence, which was to be observed in Donbas during Christmas and the New Year holidays, had never become a reality.

“Ukraine insists that the cease-fire is the essential condition for mine clearance of the territory and for finding an effective solutions to the political, humanitarian and economic issues. That is why Ukraine supports the initiative of the representative of Russia Boris Gryzlov on declaring the regime of silence, which should begin immediately,” – wrote the press secretary.

“The parties paid a special attention to the issue of return of Ukrainian citizens from captivity. At the initiative of the Ukrainian side, all the parties agreed to release in the near future more than 50 people from both sides, first of all, the wounded, the seriously ill and women.

International humanitarian organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross should be allowed to the prisoners, detained in the penitentiary facilities, and Ukrainian citizens who are illegally detained in the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, uncontrolled by Ukraine,” – said Ms Olifer.

She stressed that the representatives of the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, uncontrolled by Ukraine, repeatedly promised to do so, but have not yet fulfilled their obligations.

“The political subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group continued to seek a political solution of the situation in Donbas. Ukrainian position remains unchanged: the elections in the part of Donbas, uncontrolled by Ukraine, must be held under Ukrainian law, the standards of the OSCE and with the participation of Ukrainian parties and media.

The economic subgroup achieved the concrete results at the meeting, such as a continuing restoration of the railway infrastructure, as well as power supply. In addition, the subgroup managed to find a mechanism for debt repayment to Ukrainian utility companies for water supply in the areas of Luhansk region, uncontrolled by Ukraine. It is important to note that this mechanism corresponds with the Ukrainian legislation and with the guarantees from the Russian side on the debt repayment, “- wrote Olifer.

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It should be recalled that at the previous meeting on December 22, in the view of the coming holidays the Trilateral Contact Group agreed on the cease-fire, which came into effect at 00:00 of December 23, 2015.