MOSCOW, December 25 (Sputnik) — Moscow acknowledges Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko's commitment to his peace plan for crisis-hit Ukraine and hopes that the fresh round of Minsk talks would lead to practical steps toward reconciliation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"We feel that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is committed to Minsk agreements and he strives to ensure their implementation as the phone conference between leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany on December 22 confirmed," Lavrov said in an interview with Russia's Kommersant newspaper published on Thursday.
Lavrov also expressed hope that a fresh meeting of the so-called Contact Group on Ukrainian reconciliation in Minsk would lead to concrete steps towards a peaceful settlement in Ukraine.
The so-called Contact Group comprises representatives of Russia, the Kiev government, the self-proclaimed Ukrainian republics of Donetsk and Luhansk (DPR, LPR) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The latest meeting of the Contact Group took place in Minsk on Wednesday.
The Contact Group on Ukraine has already met in Minsk on September 5 and September 19. The talks resulted in a ceasefire agreement between the warring sides. However, since then, the sides have been repeatedly accusing each other of violating the truce.
The armed conflict in Ukraine's southeast began in April, as Kiev launched a military operation against independence supporters, who refused to recognize new authorities following a February coup. The United Nations estimates that at least 4,700 people were killed and more than 10,300 wounded in the conflicts in eastern Ukraine since mid-April.