MOSCOW, January 13 (Sputnik) — Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin expressed hope on Tuesday that the Contact Group on Ukraine will meet again by the end of this week to discuss preparations for the Astana summit.
The Contact Group on Ukraine, which includes representatives of Russia, the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE), Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics (DPR and LPR), has been holding meetings in the Belarusian capital Minsk since August 2014.
The Minsk format talks have resulted in major agreements on crisis resolution in eastern Ukraine, including a breakthrough ceasefire deal between DPR, LPR and Kiev. However, both sides to the Ukrainian conflict have accused each other of violating the ceasefire.
Astana is expected in the coming days to host the next meeting of the "Normandy format" countries, comprising Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France. On Monday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the foreign ministers of the Normandy quartet could meet again next week.
Earlier in the day, the foreign ministers of the four countries urged in a joint press release the Contact Group on Ukraine to meet as soon as possible to facilitate the peace process in the country.