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    Local residents remove debris at a house damaged by recent shelling in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, January 21, 2015

    EU Hopes for Rapid Contact Group Meeting on Ukrainian Reconciliation

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    EU representative said that the European Union hopes that the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukrainian reconciliation will meet as soon as possible.

    BRUSSELS, January 22 (Sputnik) – The European Union hopes that the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukrainian reconciliation will meet as soon as possible, and that the fighting ceases, an EU representative told RIA Novosti Thursday.

    "We hope that the [conflicting] sides cease fighting immediately, and withdraw heavy artillery from the line of contact, as is stipulated by the Minsk Protocol of September 19," the source said.

    According to the source, the EU hopes that the representatives of Kiev forces, independence supporters, Russia and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe meet as soon as possible, and that "the cessation of fighting will be the first step to a long-term political solution, while respecting sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine," the source said.

    The European Union supports the "Normandy format" meeting regarding the Ukrainian conflict that took place in Berlin Wednesday evening, the source told RIA Novosti.

    The foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France took part in a so-called "Normandy format" meeting over the situation in Donbas. According to the Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Lavrov, the most important decision made during the three-hour-long meeting was an agreement to support withdrawal of heavy artillery from the line of contact.

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    reconciliation talks, Ukraine
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