Normandy Group Lauds Stable Ceasefire in East Ukraine - Kremlin

The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany emphasized the need to provide a stable ceasefire regime in Ukraine southeast, as well as to pull back heavy artillery by the opposing sides.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France said during a telephone conversation on Thursday that they have noticed a stable ceasefire regime in eastern Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were to hold a telephone conversation on Wednesday in regard to the Ukrainian crisis within the so-called Normandy format, but it was postponed until Thursday because of the leaders’ schedules.

“The leaders of the four countries emphasized the need to provide a stable ceasefire regime, to fulfill practical steps in pulling back heavy artillery by the opposing sides, and a prisoner swap soon,” Peskov said.

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Peskov also said the leaders were supporting the Organization for Security and Co-operation of Europe’s (OSCE) monitoring mission and its operations in eastern Ukraine.

“The readiness to actively support the OSCE monitoring mission’s work on the current important level of settling [the Ukrainian crisis] was also underscored,” Peskov said.

Last week, the Normandy format talks in the capital of Belarus, Minsk, resulted in an accord on Ukrainian reconciliation. The 13-point agreement stipulated a ceasefire from February 15, a buffer zone as well as the pullback of heavy weaponry by both sides from the line of contact.

The OSCE mission, which has been deployed in war-torn eastern Ukraine since March 2014, was tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Minsk ceasefire agreement.

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