MOSCOW, March 21./TASS/. Kiev is once again rudely violating the Minsk agreements which envisage the withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the contact line, says a statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry posted on its website on Saturday.
The ministry wrote in comments on reports that journalists from Reuters had made a video showing heavy weaponry of the Ukrainian army at the contact line in the southeast of Ukraine.
Judging by the footage, the so-called Azov battalion was using 122-milimeter howitzers D-30 with the firing range of 22 kilometers, the ministry said.
It noted that the footage had been taken "near the village of Shirokono, the place that must be under closest attention of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission’. "Thus, statements by the Ukrainian authorities that all heavy weapons had been pulled out, once again turn out to be a bluff," the ministry said.
It urged the Ukrainian side "not to mislead the international public opinion" and strictly comply with the commitments it assumed under the Minsk agreements.
Marathon talks between the Normandy Four leaders - Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko - in Minsk on February 12 yielded a package of agreements, which in particular envisaged ceasefire between the Ukrainian conflicting sides starting from midnight on February 15.
The package of measures envisages the pullback of all heavy weapons by both parties to locations equidistant from the disengagement line in order to create a security zone at least 50 kilometers wide for artillery systems with a caliber of 100 mm or more, a zone of security 70 kilometers wide for multiple rocket launchers and a zone 140 kilometers wide for multiple rocket launchers Tornado-S, Uragan and Smerch and the tactical rocket systems Tochka-U.
The final document says that the Ukrainian troops are to be pulled back away from the current line of engagement and the militias of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, from the engagement line set by the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014.