OSCE SMM Chief Monitor Yaşar Halit Çevik / Photo from facebook.com/oscesmm

OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Chief Monitor Yaşar Halit Çevik says that the commitment undertaken at the Normandy Four summit in Paris on December 9 to achieve a full and comprehensive implementation of the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine by the end of 2019 is encouraging.

"Progress on the ground is visible," he said in his address to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on December 12. "The work done on the bridge and the surrounding areas near Stanytsia Luhanska has improved the conditions for the thousands of civilians crossing the contact line on daily basis."

"In the Zolote and Petrivske disengagement areas, forces and hardware were withdrawn and the SMM has observed efforts for demining and dismantling of fortifications," he said.

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The Chief Monitor says that through enhanced presence, monitoring, reporting and dialogue facilitation, the SMM has been an integral element ensuring the progress achieved.

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As UNIAN reported earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met in Paris on December 9, 2019, to discuss ways to end the war in Donbas.

In particular, they reaffirmed their commitment to the full and comprehensive ceasefire regime by the end of 2019 and supported the arrangement within the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk on the disengagement of troops and weapons at three new sites in eastern Ukraine by the end of March 2020.

They encouraged the Trilateral Contact Group to promote the release and exchange of detained persons associated with the conflict by the end of the year on an "all for all" basis, starting with "all identified for all identified."

The parties expressed their interest in reaching agreements within the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group on all legal aspects of the law on the special order of local self-government (on the special status) of certain districts in Donetsk and Luhansk regions – as specified in the Comprehensive Set of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk agreements of 2015 – to ensure its continued operation.

They also consider it necessary to incorporate the so-called "Steinmeier formula" into Ukrainian law according to the version agreed by the Normandy Four leaders and the Trilateral Contact Group.