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    Ukrainian serviceman stands near tanks at an apartment house in Avdiivka, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017

    Lavrov: Russia Hopes Sides to Donbass War to Uphold Ceasefire

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    The Russian foreign minister expressed hopes that the sides to the Donbass conflict would uphold ceasefire.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia hopes that agreements on ceasefire in Donbass will be adhered to and the withdrawal of heavy weapons will be resumed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.

    "We have a common hope that the agreements of the Contact Group, supported by the Normandy Four on adherence to the ceasefire announced yesterday will be met and the withdrawal of heavy weapons will resume, as was agreed on earlier," Lavrov told a press conference with his Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstrom.

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attends a ceremony to hand over weapons and military vehicles to servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces in Chuhuiv outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, October 15, 2016
    © REUTERS / Mikhail Palinchak/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service
    The Donbass conflict erupted in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the West-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev that had toppled legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held independence referendums and proclaimed the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Kiev has since been conducting a military operation, encountering stiff local resistance.

    In February 2015, Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters signed a peace agreement in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in Donbass, as well as constitutional reforms that would give a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. Despite the agreement, the ceasefire regime is regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.


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