KIEV, January 29 (Sputnik) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met with members of the three-party contact group on Ukrainian reconciliation Thursday, his press service said.
The group, established last year to assist the settlement of the political crisis in Ukraine, comprises OSCE envoy Heidi Tagliavini, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov and Ukrainian ex-president Leonid Kuchma.
“During the meeting, the sides have held a detailed exchange of opinions on pressing issues of settlement is certain areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” the presidential press service said in a statement.
President Poroshenko called on the Contact Group to “immediately hold consultations with the sides that had previously signed the Minsk agreements with an aim to produce a practical decision to cease fire.”
The Minsk agreements, signed in September 2014, envisaged a ceasefire between Kiev and independence supporters in southeastern Ukraine, an all-for-all prisoner exchange and the withdrawal of heavy weaponry along the line of contact.
In December 2014, Poroshenko introduced a "silence regime" along the line of contact between Kiev forces and independence supporters in southeastern Ukraine. Despite the ceasefire initiatives, the conflicting sides have repeatedly accused each other of violating the truce.
Fighting in southeastern Ukraine intensified in the first weeks of January. The January 13 bus shelling in the town of Volnovakha, Donetsk Region, claimed lives of 13 civilians. Last week, at least eight Donetsk residents were killed in the shelling of a trolleybus stop and 30 others were killed in the shelling of Mariupol.