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Minsk group agrees on release of 25 Ukrainians from Donbass captivity

Trilateral contact group discussed other key issues

Minsk group agrees on release of 25 Ukrainians from Donbass captivity

The Trilateral Contact Group on the resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine agreed on the release of 25 Ukrainians from the captivity of Donbas militants, the spokesperson Olifer Daria for the representative of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, reported via Facebook.

"The release of illegally detained persons was the main topic of today's meeting in Minsk. On Easter Eve, Ukraine is looking for the release of 25 hostages, who are on held captive in the part of the Donbas that is not controlled by Ukraine. We expect that these people will finally be able to return to their families. We can see some progress in the liberation of our pilot Nadiya Savchenko and look forward to her return to Ukraine," wrote Olifer.

A key topic of the Minsk talks is the ongoing attacks by militants. The Ukrainian side emphasises that, as the attacks continue, no progress can be achieved on any other issue - political, humanitarian or socio-economic. In particular, it is impossible to resume the work of the pedestrian checkpoint in Stanytsya Luhanska, which was closed due to the systematic shelling by Luhansk militants.

"In Donbas, election can be held only after a comprehensive ceasefire, withdrawal of foreign troops, and complete restoration of control over the Ukrainian-Russian border, with the participation of Ukrainian parties and Ukrainian media,” Olifer wrote.

The Ukrainian side is seriously concerned about threats to the OSCE observer mission, whose safety is an important part of the process of implementation of the Minsk agreements.

"In addition, on the eve of the 9 May [Victory Day], we warn the representatives of certain administrative areas in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts that holding the so-called parade of military equipment in Donetsk would be in direct and flagrant violation of the Minsk Agreements. In accordance with the agreements, all weapons should be withdrawn from the contact line and taken to places of permanent deployment; the withdrawal must be confirmed by the OSCE staff,” stressed Olifer.

After the meeting, Ukrainian side handed over to the representatives of the OSCE a list of 114 hostages imprisoned by the militants.