11:58 GMT +319 June 2018
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    Former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma (3rdR), OSCE envoy Heidi Tagliavini (2ndR) and ambassador-at-large representing Russia Azamat Kulmukhametov (R) address the media after talks on resolving the Ukraine conflict in Minsk on May 6, 2015

    Contact Group Arrives in Minsk Amid Resumed Hostilities in Ukraine

    © AFP 2018 / SERGEI GAPON
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    According to an anonymous source, escalations in violence, constitutional reform and regional elections are expected to be on the agenda between envoys of Russia,the OSCE and Ukraine in the Belarusian capital on Tuesday.

    MINSK (Sputnik) — Delegates from Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) are in Minsk for Tuesday consultations on a Donbass conflict settlement, a source close to the talks said.

    The unnamed source said Russian envoy Azamat Kulmukhametov and OSCE envoy Heidi Tagliavini have arrived in the Belarusian capital earlier for the latest round of Contact Group negotiations.

    The trilateral Contact Group includes representatives from Kiev, Moscow, the OSCE, as well as Ukraine's eastern breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR).

    "Ukraine's Contact Group envoy Leonid Kuchma has literally moments ago touched down at the Minsk [National] Airport," the source told RIA Novosti.

    Representatives of the DPR and LPR are in Minsk for the reconciliation talks, DPR parliamentary speaker Andrei Purgin told RIA Novosti.

    The latest Contact Group talks are scheduled for 4:00 p.m. local time (13:00 GMT), and recent escalations in violence beginning June 3 are expected to be at the center of discussions. Constitutional reform and regional elections are also expected to be on Tuesday's agenda.

    Swiss officials announced Tagliavini's resignation from her post earlier in the month, a result of disagreements with Contact Group negotiators. Her as-yet-unidentified successor was believed to be present at last Wednesday's so-called Normandy format talks in Paris.

    An upsurge in violence in southeast Ukraine, despite the mid-February ceasefire, has claimed over 50 lives in the past two weeks.

    The United Nations estimates that over 6,500 have died in clashes between government forces and independent supporters dating back to April 2014.


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    Minsk agreements, OSCE, Azamat Kulmuhametov, Heidi Tagliavini, Leonid Kuchma, Donbass, Lugansk, Donetsk, Minsk, Ukraine, Russia
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