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Ukraine to start withdrawing artillery in Donbas after Dec 26 — Ukraine’s Defense Ministry

December 25, 2014, 18:41 UTC+3 KIEV

The step is considered second stage of implementing the Minsk memorandum

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© AP Photo/Efrem Lukasky

KIEV, December 25 /TASS/. The Ukrainian side will start withdrawing heavy artillery from Donbas after December 26 to create a 30-kilometer security zone, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

“We are trying to unconditionally implement the Minsk memorandum. The first stage is to observe ‘silence regime’,” Alexander Rozmaznin, a representative of the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, said.

“We will get over to the next stage after December 26. We will start withdrawing 100-mm and over 100-mm artillery guns to the established distances,” Rozmaznin said.

“That is how a 30-kilometer security zone will be created,” he added.

The General Staff representative explained that the OSCE mission would monitor the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

“A joint center together with the OSCE mission and groups deployed in zones and sectors starts rendering assistance in patrolling the territories and keeping records of all violations if such occur,” Rozmaznin said explaining the move was necessary in order to be able to bring any of the parties to justice in case the memorandum is breached.

The Contact Group for Ukraine met in Minsk on September 20 to adopt a memorandum on ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. The document consists of nine points including a ban on using all types of weapons and withdrawal of heavy weapons with a caliber of more than 100 mm to 15 kilometers away from the contact line.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has been tasked to monitor how the memorandum is being implemented. The document was signed by OSCE envoy for Ukraine Heidi Tagliavini; Ukraine’s former president Leonid Kuchma; Russia’s Ambassador to Kiev Mikhail Zurabov, DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko and the head of Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), Igor Plotnitsky.

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