“I understand that a new ceasefire concerning the Donbas area was recently decided in Minsk by members of the Trilateral Contact Group,” he said during the Sunday Angelus.
The agreement aims to bring harmonization and the approval of additional measures of control over a current ceasefire in the ongoing conflict between the unrecognized Donetsk People’s Republic and the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It was reached in the Belorussian capital, Minsk, and is due to come into force starting Monday, 27 July.
The Pope thanked the parties for “this sign of goodwill aimed at bringing much-desired peace to that tormented region.”
“I pray that what has been agreed will finally be put into practice, including effective disarmament and mine clearance process,” he said. He then noted that “Only in this way will it be possible to rebuild confidence and lay the foundations for reconciliation that is so necessary and so long awaited by the people.”
Since the autumn of 2014, the Contact Group for settlement in eastern Ukraine has declared over 20 ceasefires in Donbas. Members of the Group declared an indefinite ceasefire starting in July 2019, however, ceasefire violations have persisted.
Violence in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatist forces and the Ukrainian military has taken lives of more than 10,000 people, nearly 24,000 have become injured, and 1.5 million people have become IDPs since April 2014.