updated 9:43 AM UTC, Dec 29, 2017

The Minsk Contact Group decided to declare the so-called “back to school” ceasefire in southeastern Ukraine from August 25, 2017, in connection with the beginning of a new academic year. The leaders of the Normandy Four countries supported this decision in their joint statement.

We regret to note that the ceasefire continues to be violated, and that Ukrainian security forces are staging provocative attacks along the demarcation line.

We expect that all necessary efforts will soon be made to persuade the parties to exercise restraint in line with available negotiating formats and mechanisms, including the Contact Group, the Normandy Four, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine and the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination.

We urge Kiev to see that the ceasefire is strictly maintained to end the provocations along the demarcation line and to consistently fulfil the obligations it assumed within the Contact Group, on observing the “back to school” ceasefire. We cannot allow the process for a political resolution to the Ukrainian crisis to be jeopardised as a result of irresponsible actions, and we cannot miss this chance for a political settlement.