Updated on 10:24 p.m. Moscow Time
BRUSSELS, September 3 (RIA Novosti) – The European Union takes good note of the agreement between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents to work jointly on a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, said Maja Kocijancic, a spokeswoman for the EU foreign policy chief.
“We take good note of the agreement between [Ukrainian] President [Petro] Poroshenko and [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin to work together towards a possible ceasefire within the next few days,” the spokeswoman told RIA Novosti Wednesday.
“The EU has called since the very start of the crisis for a viable and mutually agreed ceasefire,” she went on. “If respected by all it would constitute an important first step towards an urgently needed sustainable political solution based on respect for Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence.”
The European Union will follow the situation “very closely,” Kocijancic noted.
On Wednesday, Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko discussed the first steps to bringing an end to the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine over the telephone.
According to the Kremlin, the views of the leaders on the issue were very similar.
Putin hopes that final agreements between the Kiev government and independence supporters in southeastern Ukraine may be reached during Friday’s Contact Group meeting in Minsk.
The Russian president stressed that the work of the contact group should be carried out only with full and unconditional assurance of the legitimate rights of the residents of southeastern Ukraine.
On September 1, the Contact Group on Ukrainian reconciliation, comprising Russia, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Ukrainian government and eastern Ukraine’s independence supporters met in the Belarusian capital Minsk.
Representatives from the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics said during the meeting that if the self-proclaimed republics received certain legislative guarantees of their special status, they would make every effort to “save the single economic, cultural and political space of Ukraine and the whole space of the Russian-Ukrainian civilization."
The next Contact Group meeting is scheduled for September 5.
The situation in southeastern Ukraine escalated in mid-April when Kiev launched a military operation against independence supporters in the region, who refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new Kiev government that came to power after the February 22 coup.