DONETSK, December 9. /TASS/. A “Day of Silence” has begun in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in Ukraine’s east, the republic’s defense ministry said on Tuesday, noting that no ceasefire violations had been reported so far.
“The silence regime is being observed so far,” a spokesman for the ministry told TASS, adding that the atmosphere in the region was also calm in the hours before the “Day of Silence”.
Earlier in the day, the press center of Kiev’s military operation said Ukraine’s authorities had introduced a ceasefire regime at all positions of its armed forces in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
An intention to introduce a moratorium on combat actions was made public by President Petro Poroshenko on December 4. The initiative was welcomed by officials of the self-proclaimed independence-minded Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.
Alexander Zakharchenko, head of the Donetsk republic, said the ceasefire had been declared as far back as September 5 at a meeting of the Contact Group for Ukraine in Minsk.
“We didn’t violate it on a single occasion,” he said. “All the violations have been committed by the Ukrainian Army. If the Ukrainian side doesn’t open fire, we won’t open it either.”
Andrey Lysenko, an official spokesman for the National Security and Defense Council, said the objective of the “Day of Silence” was to give a start to the fulfilling of the Minsk agreements — that is, to begin the pullback of heavy weaponry, to release prisoners, to clear minefields, and to begin demilitarization of the region.
Representatives of the Joint Center for the Ceasefire are due to meet on December 9. It is expected that a technical document of some kind spelling out a clear pattern of the withdrawal of heavy weaponry will be signed at the meeting.
Andrey Purgin, the speaker of parliament of the Donetsk republic, said this pattern would impart an algorithm to actions. “For a start, we pull out weapons at certain sections and then switch over to other sections and then take other steps,” he said. “Thus the sides will get down to a full-scale ceasefire regime.”
Denis Pushilin, the representative of the DPR at the talks in Minsk said officials in Donetsk felt quite optimistic with regard to the “Day of Silence”. “Let’s hope some kind of a ceasefire will begin indeed.”.