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MINSK, September 05./ITAR-TASS/. A protocol on ceasefire and a 12-point peace plan have been signed at a meeting of the trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine, participants of the meeting told journalists during a break.
“We have... signed a 12-point protocol. The key thing is the immediate cessation of fire from 18:00 local time,” OSCE Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini said.
“Most points of the protocol meet our requirements,” Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) Igor Plotnitsky said Friday. “But a ceasefire does not mean that we will change our course for secession from Ukraine. This is a forced measure.”
In turn, self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko emphasized that "a ceasefire will make it possible to save people’s lives".
After that, the meeting of the Contact Group continued behind closed doors.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a protocol on ceasefire strating in Ukraine's south-east from 6pm Friday, September 5.
The previous talks of the Contact Group comprising representatives of Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were held in the Belarusian capital Minsk behind closed doors on September 1.
The Contact Group assembles former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Alexander Zakharchenko, head of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) Igor Plotnitsky, Russian ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, and Heidi Tagliavini, representing the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions have been the scene of fierce clashes between troops loyal to Kiev and local militias as the Ukrainian armed forces have been conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums and now call themselves the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics.
Kiev's operation, conducted since mid-April, has employed armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. Hundreds of civilians have lost their lives in it. Many buildings have been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s war-torn southeast.
Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested a seven-item plan to settle the crisis in Ukraine after a phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday.