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Donbas contact group holds first meeting in Minsk in 2017

Ukraine states the cease-fire announced on the New Year eve was breached.

Donbas contact group holds first meeting in Minsk in 2017
Photo: twitter.com/BelarusMID

The trilateral contact group on a Donbas settlement has had its first meeting in Minsk in 2017, Darka Olifer, spokesperson for Ukraine's representative in the group, Leonid Kuchma, has said on Facebook.

The Ukrainian delegation said the cease-fire announced on the New Year eve was boycotted by pro-Russian militants.

"We insist on observing the entire package of Minsk agreements, including the return to the 19 September 2014 line, which includes Debaltseve. The settlement of security issues is a key component of the entire Minsk process. There can be no elections in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions without a full and sustainable cease-fire, without the withdrawal of all foreign military units and military hardware from the territory of Ukraine, without control over the border," Olifer said.

The sides agreed to hold a video conference of the humanitarian subgroup on 18 January to continue discussing a release of hostages.

The Ukrainian delegation added that the Zolote checkpoint remains blocked by pro-Russian militants in Luhansk Region.

The Ukrainian delegation welcomed the start of the Austrian chairmanship of the OSCE and thanked Germany for its work.

"We hope that Austria's contribution to a settlement of the situation in Donbas will be significant and substantial," she added.