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    Minsk Summit on Ukraine: Last Exit Before War? (83)
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    Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has stressed the importance of the practical implementation of Minsk agreements on Ukraine.

    MINSK (Sputnik) – Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has emphasized that the recently-signed Minsk agreements on Ukraine are highly important and need to be strictly implemented in order for the crisis in Donbas to end.

    "Today's issue lies in the practical implementation of these agreements," Lukashenko said as quoted by the Belarus-1 TV channel on Friday night. Speaking in an interview given to Russia's NTV channel, the president stressed that the Minsk ceasefire agreement is "a great achievement" but added that there is more work to be done in order to resolve the conflict in southeastern Ukraine (Donbas).

    The Contact Group on Ukraine, which includes representatives from Russia, Kiev, the self-proclaimed people's republics of Donetsk and Luhansk (DPR and LPR) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) agreed on a number of measures aimed at ending the conflict in southeastern Ukraine on Thursday. The agreement was signed at the conclusion of a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin, his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande in Minsk.

    The meeting of the leaders of the Normandy Quartet, which includes Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France, started on Wednesday and lasted for 16 hours, resulting in the signing of a joint declaration in support of the measures agreed upon by the Contact Group.

    The measures include a ceasefire between Kiev forces and Donbas independence supporters, the creation of a buffer zone between the two sides through the withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the region and an all-for-all prisoner exchange.

    The ceasefire comes into force at midnight on February 15.

    This is the second ceasefire agreed at a Contact Group meeting in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, since the start of the Kiev military operation in Donbas last spring. In September, 2014, a similar agreement was signed. However, despite the deal, clashes between Kiev forces and independence supporters continued in southeastern Ukraine through the end of 2014, intensifying at the start of 2015.

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    Minsk Summit on Ukraine: Last Exit Before War? (83)

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    Minsk protocol, Alexander Lukashenko, Minsk, Ukraine
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