KIEV: The Trilateral Contact Group on the settlement of the situation in eastern Ukraine reached an agreement on a fresh round of ceasefire and a prisoner exchange between the conflicting sides, a spokesperson for Kiev’s delegate said.
Darka Olifer, the spokesperson for Ukraine’s representative in the group Leonid Kuchma, wrote on Facebook said that the indefinite ceasefire in the conflict-hit region will be launched on midnight Dec. 23 to enable civilians quietly celebrate the winter holidays.
During the group’s meeting, she said, the representatives of the Ukrainian government and pro-independence insurgents have confirmed their readiness to exchange the detained persons before the New Year and Christmas holidays.
The participants of the meeting have expressed a “joint commitment to the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements,” Olifer said.
The comprehensive ceasefire and the prisoner swap are the key parts of the Minsk peace agreements designed to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 10,000 people since April 2014.
Previously, the Ukrainian government and insurgents have declared more than 30 rounds of the truce, which helped to ease the hostilities in the restive area.
Kiev believes that insurgents are holding at least 162 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians captured in the conflict, while rebels estimate that the government is holding 309 of their supporters.
The trilateral contact group is a group of representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that was formed as means to facilitate a diplomatic resolution to the armed conflict in the Donbas region.
Insurgent representatives also participate in the meetings of the diplomatic group.