MINSK (Sputnik) – Kiev is strengthening its economic and transport blockade of the eastern Ukrainian Donbass region, Russia's envoy to the trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine Boris Gryzlov said Wednesday.
"Kiev is strengthening its economic and transport blockade of Donbass, which runs counter to the Minsk agreements," Gryzlov told reporters.
"The main result: the Contact Group managed to agree on a ceasefire regime in connection with the beginning of the new academic year from August 25. We hope that the 'school' truce will be observed responsibly and indefinitely," Gryzlov told reporters after the group's meeting in Minsk.
The operational command of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) told Sputnik it welcomed the decision to cease fire in Donbass and was ready to observe the truce from August 25.
Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) militia spokesman Andrei Marochko told Sputnik that LPR was also ready to observe the truce. He expressed hope that the agreed ceasefire would last as long as possible.
"We are still observing the truce, complying with the Minsk accords and are ready not to open fire… We hope that this truce will last as long as possible, unlike the 'harvest ceasefire' which was violated 35 minutes after it was announced," Marochko said.
“Taking into account the data on shelling, including against Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination staff, the Russian delegation has demanded disciplinary action against the violators of ceasefire,” he told reporters.
On June 21, a trilateral contact group, composed of Russian, Ukrainian and OSCE mediators, agreed to impose a ceasefire in Ukraine's eastern regions during the summer harvest, which would last from June 24 to August 31. However, the ceasefire failed to hold with both sides of the conflict continuing to blame each other of violations.
A military conflict in Ukraine has been ongoing since 2014, after the residents of Donbass refused to recognize the new Ukrainian government that had come to power in what they perceived to be a coup. In February 2015, the parties to the Ukrainian conflict signed the Minsk peace accords in an effort to end the fighting in the crisis-torn region.
The Trilateral Contact Group on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, with representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE, was set up in 2014 to promote direct dialogue between Ukraine’s conflicting parties.