OSCE/Micky Kroell

Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Ertugrul Apakan on Friday welcomed the recommitment to the ceasefire made by the Trilateral Contact Group and other signatories of the Minsk agreements.

The recommitment, made in Minsk on February 28, is expected to come into effect at 00:01 on March 5, the OSCE SMM said in a press release.

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"Spring is a time for renewal, and with this recommitment, there is an opportunity to renew the process outlined in the Minsk agreements and allow the civilian population in eastern Ukraine to once again live in peace," Ambassador Apakan said. "Recommitment, however, needs to be matched by concrete actions if the ceasefire is to hold in a meaningful and sustained manner, namely the withdrawal of heavy weapons, disengagement of forces and formations, and de-mining."

"People in eastern Ukraine want to return to their normal lives," Apakan said. "It is high time that they are allowed to do so."