MOSCOW, January 19. /TASS/. Moscow has urged Kiev and militias of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) to use the opportunity to withdraw weaponry from the conflict zone, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday.
“In connection with the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s statement of January 18, we draw attention to the following. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s letter addressed to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was sent in response to the Ukrainian side’s request made during telephone contacts between the leaders of Russia and Ukraine,” the ministry said. “The letter proposes to urgently start the withdrawal of heavy weaponry of the sides — both of the Ukrainian security structures and militias of Donbas (DPR and LPR) from the contact line in accordance with the Minsk agreements and the positions on which the Ukrainian side insists. The table containing the sides’ actions under the schedule of withdrawal of each type of cannonry and missile artillery has also been sent.”
The parameters proposed in the table are similar to the heavy weaponry withdrawal schedule contained in the working document of November 13, 2014, the fulfilment of which was urged by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry in its statement of January 18, the Russian ministry said.
In the light of the aforementioned, Moscow “strongly advises the Ukrainian side not to replace the professional military deescalation efforts with foreign political rhetoric.” “If Kiev really sincerely wants to conduct a mutual withdrawal of heavy weaponry with people’s militias in accordance with the withdrawal parameters specified by the Minsk memorandum of September 19, 2014 and confirmed by the working document on November 13, 2014, then immediate practical action should be taken on site, the more so that the leaders of DPR and LPR (self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in the south-east of Ukraine) have already signed the coordinated schedule,” the ministry said.
“The Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC), created at the request of President Petro Poroshenko, together with the OSCE (Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe) Mission aims to ensure monitoring of the process of withdrawal of heavy weaponry of Ukraine’s security forces and self-proclaimed republics’ militia forces, providing assistance, if necessary, in the adjustment of technical details,” says the statement. “To this end, Ukraine’s representative in the Joint Center must obtain the necessary authorization from Kiev.”
“This kind of approach aimed at specific steps will remove the risk of resumption of armed standoff,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“We strongly urge the sides to seize the real opportunity for the withdrawal of deadly weapons from the conflict zone and thereby avert the threat of further civilian casualties,” the ministry said. “Now this is an absolute priority. The implementation of this step will help build confidence and create favorable conditions for the implementation of other provisions of the Minsk agreements.”