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DONETSK, January 14. /TASS/. A three-party special commission to investigate the shelling of a bus in the Donetsk Region in eastern Ukraine near the city of Volnovakha, established on an initiative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), could start working January 15, a senior official said as quoted by the Donetsk news agency.
“The special commission investigating the reasons behind the tragedy near Volnovakha may start working even tomorrow. The DPR will be represented there by a specialist who is capable of sorting out what happened professionally and performing an expert examination,” plenipotentiary representative of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) in the Contact Group on Ukrainian settlement, deputy speaker of the DPR parliament Denis Pushilin said.
A passenger bus bound from Donetsk to Zlatoustovka was shelled on January 13. Twelve civilians were killed and 16 wounded.
Earlier today, the OSCE suggested establishing a joint group to investigate the tragedy.
Over 4,000 people have lost their lives and hundreds of thousands have fled Ukraine’s southeast as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation, conducted since mid-April 2014, to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics (DPR and LPR), according to UN data.
A ceasefire was agreed upon at talks between the parties to the Ukrainian conflict mediated by the OSCE on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.
Numerous violations of the ceasefire, which took effect the same day, have been reported since.
A memorandum was adopted on September 19, 2014 in Minsk by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE. The document outlined the parameters for the implementation of commitments on the ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.
The nine-point memorandum in particular envisioned a ban on the use of all armaments and withdrawal of weapons with the calibers of over 100 millimeters to a distance of 15 kilometers from the contact line from each side. The OSCE was tasked with controlling the implementation of memorandum provisions.
A "day of silence" in eastern Ukraine began at 09:00 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) on December 9. It was seen as another attempt by both parties to the intra-Ukrainian conflict to put an end to hostilities. Both Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics voiced the necessity to start withdrawal of heavy armaments, swap prisoners and demilitarize the region.
The LPR militia, while fulfilling the conditions of agreements, started on December 11 unilaterally withdrawing heavy artillery from the disengagement line. In particular, it withdrew the D-30 artillery systems and BM-21 multiple rocket launchers.