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LUHANSK, February 17. /TASS/. The leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic, Igor Plotnitsky, said he'd come under shelling carried out by Kiev troops during his visit to the frontline on Monday.
"You know, Zorinsk was shelled yesterday, and there are those wounded and injured. And other areas were shelled. I came under shelling yesterday," Plotnitsky told TASS.
According to its leader, the self-proclaimed Luhansk republic started withdrawing heavy weaponry from the separation line between Kiev troops and militias already on Monday.
"We started fulfilling our commitments already yesterday evening," Plotnitsky stressed, adding that the Luhansk republic "expects Ukraine to do the same."
Plotnitsky said however one cannot say now that Kiev is fully prepared to ensure the heavy weaponry withdrawal. "As the Ukrainian Armed Forces are trying to pull back weaponry, while national battalions are not," he said.
Igor Plotnitsky also said the authorities of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic are ready for an all-for-all prisoner swap with Kiev in line with the Minsk agreements.
"We always swapped prisoners and we did not hold them," Plotnitsky said. "We will hand over the captives," he said, stressing that the prisoners of war are kept in "civilized conditions."
Plotnitsky said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will bear responsibility for Kiev’s failure to fulfill the Minsk accords on a ceasefire and heavy weaponry pullout.
"Poroshenko and all the other presidents [of the Normandy format countries] guaranteed us fulfillment [of the Minsk accords]," the LNR head said.
"That is why, in this case, if something is not fulfilled it is not the Luhansk People’s Republic or the Donetsk People’s Republic but Ukraine and, particularly, Petro Alexeyevich Poroshenko that will be responsible for that," Plotnitsky said.
At a videoconference of the Contact Group on Tuesday, the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) will insist on the implementation of all 13 points in the set of measures to implement the Minsk agreements.
"We will now consider issues of a next stage of the implementation of the Minsk agreements," Plotnitsky said, adding that the LPR "has been doing, does and will keep doing" all for their implementation.
"If all steps are implemented, we will have an absolutely different Ukraine in a year, or maybe slightly later," the leader of the self-proclaimed republic in Ukraine’s east said.