Russia, Ukraine 'agree steps' towards truce

Russia, Ukraine 'agree steps' towards truce
Thu Jul 3, 2014 10:02:27

A roadmap of measures to point a way out of the Ukrainian crisis has been agreed during four-way talks between the foreign ministers from Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine, German FM Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said.

In their joint statement, the ministers called for the Contact Group to resume its work “no later than July 5 with the goal of reaching an unconditional and mutually agreed, sustainable ceasefire.”

Steinmeier expressed hope that by working together the Ukrainian and opponent sides will be able to stop “the escalation of the conflict, which has taken place in recent days.”

The group should include representatives of both Kiev and the self-defense forces of the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said.

While Russia only has limited influence over the self-defense forces in southeast Ukraine, Lavrov said that their representatives, including Donetsk People's Republic leader Aleksandr Boroday, have already “publicly stated that they are ready to answer Russia’s and the OSCE’s calls to start consultations on a ceasefire.”

“The ceasefire should be monitored by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine in conformity with its mandate,” the statement reads.

Lavrov, said that the ceasefire was essential to prevent further casualties among the civilian population, and to provide a chance of reaching an agreement between the sides in the conflict.

Moscow says it is ready to grant Ukraine border guards access to Russian territory so that they can control border crossings at several checkpoints, while the mutually agreed ceasefire is in place.

The Russian FM insisted that the ceasefire must in no way be used as a chance to redeploy forces by the sides involved in the Ukrainian conflict.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Pavlo Klimkin, confirmed that during the Berlin talks the parties agreed “the establishment of a bilateral ceasefire, which will be monitored by the OSCE.”

However, he added that de-escalation will only happen when the Ukrainian president’s peace plan is respected in its totality.


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