The ceasefire regime, agreed by the parties to the conflict in connection with the approaching Easter, comes into force in Donbass.
The heads of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics in mid-March put forward the initiative to declare the Easter truce. DPR Head Alexander Zakharchenko then said he was satisfied with the decrease in the shelling intensity in the conflict zone.
"On March 5 of this year," he said, "the spring truce was launched, which can be called one of the most successful one. It is generally respected, and there is hope that the ceasefire will become permanent. On the eve of the great holiday for all Christians, I propose to declare 'Easter truce' beginning already from Holy Week."
The DPR turned to the OSCE for assistance in holding extraordinary negotiations of the Minsk group in a videoconference format to discuss the issue of a truce, and on March 23 the Contact Group confirmed the intention to introduce a ceasefire starting from midnight Moscow time on March 30.
According to Russian envoy to the Minsk negotiations Boris Gryzlov, the statement by the parties "confirmed the ban on any offensives and reconnaissance operations, both coming and outcoming fire, deployment and engagement of heavy weapons in and near settlements."
"The Contact Group stressed the importance of observing ceasefire orders and applying disciplinary measures to its violators. The parties reiterated their firm commitment to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements," the Russian envoy added.
Since the beginning of the conflict in Donbass, it is already the 19th attempt to stop the fire on the contact line of the parties. The most successful one was the truce of 2016, when the regime of complete silence was preserved for 6 weeks.
The new agreement of the parties was welcomed by the leaders of the Normandy Four countries. According to the statement by the leaders of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France, the Quartet participants "welcome the agreement on the resumption of the ceasefire on the occasion of the Easter holiday." In the document, the leaders "stressed the importance of its strict observance and ensuring effective monitoring and verification by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission."
The leaders of the Normandy Format also reaffirmed their commitment to the Minsk agreements' implementation in all their aspects (security, political, humanitarian and economic issues) and stressed that they "will consider possible ways to accelerate the implementation of the agreements in the coming months."
In April 2014, the authorities of Ukraine launched a military operation against the DPR and LPR, which had declared independence after the coup in Ukraine in February 2014. According to the latest UN data, more than 10,000 people became victims of the conflict.
The settlement of the situation in Donbass is being negotiated, including during the meetings of the Contact Group in Minsk, which has already adopted three documents regulating the steps to de-escalate the conflict since September, 2014. However, Ukrainian bombardments continue after the armistice agreements are passed.
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DONi News Agency