BERLIN (Sputnik) — The foreign ministers of the so-called ‘Normandy Four’ group are satisfied with the generally holding ceasefire in Ukraine’s east, the Russian foreign minister said Saturday.
"We, first of all, expressed satisfaction that the ceasefire is observed more or less. Separate cases of violation of this regime are taking place, but in general we have a positive assessment of what is happening," Sergei Lavrov stated after the ministers’ meeting in the German capital.
Lavrov also confirmed that the extension of the Minsk negotiations was discussed during the so-called Normandy Four ministerial-level meeting on the Ukrainian conflict in Berlin.
"We touched upon this issue, we believe that the most important thing is to preserve inviolable the package, the balance, which was anchored in Minsk documents, adopted and signed on February 12," Lavrov stated.
He also emphasized that the contents of the Minsk agreements were more crucial than the timing.
"We are interested in settling the discrepancies regarding the Minsk agreements that emerged in the course of the group on political issues’ work that concerned the modalities of holding the local elections in the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk People's republics," Lavrov told reporters after the Normandy Four group’s ministerial talks in Berlin.
Lavrov also said that the Normandy Quartet foreign ministers had called for the final agreement on the withdrawal of weapons under 100-mm caliber from the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine.
"We spoke today in support of agreement and signing of a document in the framework of a respective subgroup on security in Minsk regarding all details that concern the withdrawal of weapons with the calibre of under 100mm. This stipulates very close verification, monitoring of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission," Lavrov said.
"We hope that remaining issues will be coordinated during the upcoming meeting of the subgroup on security, scheduled for September 15-16 in Minsk," Lavrov said Saturday.
The foreign ministers of the Normandy Quartet, namely Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany, discussed the peaceful settlement of Ukraine's crisis at Villa Borsig in Berlin on Saturday. The talks took place ahead of the Normandy Four leaders meeting on October 2 in Paris.
Ukraine's southeast has been engulfed in a conflict since April, 2014, when Kiev launched a military offensive to suppress local militias in the Donbas region.
Last week, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko claimed the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine was being observed, signifying that the Minsk agreements were finally taking hold.