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Trilateral Contact Group Seeks Easter Cease-Fire In Ukraine

The United Nations has raised its estimate of total fatalities during the conflict in eastern Ukraine to more than 9,300. (file photo)

The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine says it aims for a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine to begin with the start of the Easter and May holidays.

The group, which comprises representatives from Ukraine, Russia, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said in Minsk that it will work for the cease-fire to become effective on April 30 at midnight local time.

The Contact Group issued a statement on April 29 saying all members have agreed that their "respective orders with regard to total compliance with the ceasefire will be communicated to all responsible persons on the ground."

The announcement comes a day after the OSCE warned that violence in the war zone in eastern Ukraine had reached levels not seen for months.

A peace deal co-signed by France and Germany in February 2015 in Minsk was meant to end the fighting, but the two-year war has now killed more than 9,300 people as the sides trade blame for truce violations.

The United Nations on April 28 raised its estimate of the total killed during the conflict in eastern Ukraine to 9,333 from 9,160 in March.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Taye-Brook Zerihoun told the UN Security Council that the total number of casualties now stands at 30,729, including 9,333 people killed and 21,396 injured.

Ukraine told the UN Security Council on April 28 that its cease-fire with separatists in the east must be strengthened before progress can be achieved on a political solution to the conflict.

It was the first council meeting on Ukraine since December.

With reporting by Interfax and AFP
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