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Eastern Ukraine militias ready to withdraw weaponry to Kiev-proposed line — Lavrov

January 21, 2015, 13:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to the Russian foreign minister, now the matter depends on the Ukrainian authorities

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© Nikolai Muravyev/TASS

MOSCOW, January 21. /TASS/. Russia has secured the agreement of militias to withdraw heavy weaponry to the line proposed by Kiev, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.

“We have obtained the agreement of militias to pull heavy weaponry not from the actual line but from the line on which Kiev insists,” Lavrov told a news conference. “Now the matter depends on the Ukrainian authorities,” he said.

Lavrov stressed that the shelling of towns in Ukraine’s south-east continues and people are being killed there. He called on Kiev to immediately stop attacks on Donetsk and other towns in southeastern Ukraine.

“Therefore, it is most important to disengage heavy weaponry in line with the Minsk agreements,” Lavrov said.

The nine-point Minsk memorandum adopted in September envisaged 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 Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which has monitors deployed in Ukraine, was tasked with controlling the implementation of memorandum provisions.

Disengagement, constitutional reform in Ukraine to be discussed at Normandy format foreign ministers' meeting

A Normandy format meeting of foreign ministers in Berlin will discuss the disengagement line and constitutional reform in Ukraine among other things, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference on the results of 2014 in Moscow on Wednesday.

“The disengagement line was mentioned in very concrete terms. It is the very same engagement line that the Ukrainian side recognizes and insists on. The militias agree with it, too. We have contributed to this. Nobody disputes it. Pulling heavy armaments away from it would be easy. Everything else has been agreed on: how far away the heavy artillery and multiple rocket systems should be pulled back.

“The need for Kiev’s political decision to support this approach will be discussed in Berlin, too,” he said.

“Naturally, the issues concerning the political aspect of the settlement are always discussed in various formats. I am referring to the constitutional reform issue that the Ukrainian authorities have been trying to play down, and the issues described in the Minsk Accords as the special status for the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics. We have our own ideas and proposals regarding all these issues.

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