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OSCE mission requests sides in Ukraine conflict to provide data on heavy weapons

February 22, 2015, 4:15 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, February 21. /TASS/. Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has requested the sides in the Ukraine conflict to provide data on their heavy weapons and plans for their withdrawal.

"In order to verify the withdrawal - to testify to the truth that specific weapons have been and remain withdrawn - the OSCE SMM needs to know what heavy weapons the sides have, where these weapons are now, and where they will be located after they have been withdrawn," says OSCE SMM Chief Monitor Ertugrul Apakan’s report published on Saturday.

The information had been requested seven days earlier, he said.

"I regret to say that they [signatories to the Minsk agreements - eds. TASS] have not yet provided inventories of their heavy weapons; the routes along which they intend to withdraw them; or where they will be concentrated," he said.

Apakan said the mission had been monitoring the movements of heavy weaponry in the area for the previous several months.

"But there is an obvious difference between this activity, which we will continue, and being able to report that these weapons are indeed withdrawn, and safely and securely stored," he said.

On Friday, representatives of Kiev and leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics coordinated documents on withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the line of contact in Donbass while the Joint Centre for Coordination and Control (JCCC) finished planning the process and organising control over it.

Ukrainian army’s envoy to the JCCC Colonel Dmitry Lakhurov told a JCCC news conference that the document stipulating the weapons withdrawal and the map attached to it had been signed.

"The map [of the heavy weapons withdrawal] has been co-ordinated. It has been signed by Plotnitsky and will also be signed by Zakharchenko today," Lakhurov said. "As the group’s representative I will control the withdrawal of weapons."

At the same time, Lt General Alexander Lentsov, Russia’s representative to the JCCC, said on Friday that joint groups were controlling the weaponry withdrawal from the territories of the self-proclaimed Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics.

"Joint groups consist of representatives of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, Russia’s Armed Forces and also the representatives of Lugansk and Donetsk people’s republics in the joint centre for ceasefire control and coordination," Lentsov said expressing hope that OSCE mission observers would join the JCCC alongside other participants.

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