"The first meeting as part of the Joint Center for Control and Coordination of the ceasefire, in which we made direct contacts with representatives from the Ukrainian side. Direct talks have begun," Basurin said.
Despite the ceasefire agreement reached between the independence supporters and Kiev last September, fighting has continued in the Donbas region. The clashes intensified in recent weeks, with the warring sides trading blame for numerous shelling attacks in eastern Ukraine. More than 5,000 people died since the start of the military conflict in eastern Ukraine last April, according to the UN.
On February 12, a deal on the crisis settlement in Ukraine was signed in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France specified steps necessary to maintain ceasefire in southeastern Ukraine.
The truce came into force on February 15. The same day, the head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine said the ceasefire was generally holding.