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OSCE drones register pullout of weaponry near Ukraine's Mariupol — report

February 20, 2015, 8:17 UTC+3
A small concentration of battle tanks spotted on February 17 have been re-located to an unknown destination
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© EPA/IVAN BOBERSKYY

VIENNA, February 19. /TASS/. Drones of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have registered pullout of some armaments from the contact line between the parties to the Ukrainian conflict near the city of Mariupol, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine said in a daily report Thursday.

"The UAV… recorded that a small concentration of battle tanks spotted the previous day had been re-located to an unknown destination," the report said.

"On 17 and 18 February an SMM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) conducted four operational day-and night-flights along and on either side of the contact line from Mariupol to Dokuchajevsk, 70 kilometers north of Mariupol (113km south of Donetsk), and in the security zone on either side of the contact line," it said.

"On 17 February the UAV observed battle tanks, Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs), BMP Infantry Fighting Vehicles, Howitzers, an SA-8 anti-aircraft system and different military positions. The following day the UAV spotted the presence of numerous heavy weapons in the security zone, including, inter alia, battle tanks, APCs and BMPs," the report said.

"There was, however, only a limited presence of military personnel in defensive positions such as at checkpoints and in trenches," it said.

Regular talks of the participants of the Trilateral Contact Group comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE on settlement of the situation in eastern Ukraine were held in Minsk on February 10-12.

At that meeting of the Contact Group, a 13-point set of measures on implementation of the Minsk agreements were adopted, in particular, the agreement on cessation of fire from February 15, withdrawal of heavy armaments, as well as measures on long-term political settlement of the situation in Ukraine, including enforcement of the special self-rule status for certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The document was signed by OSCE Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini, ex-Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, Russian Ambassador in Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, as well as self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People's republics' leaders Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky.

Talks of the Normandy Four leaders (Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France) on the Ukrainian issue also ended February 12 in Minsk.

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