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MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has pulled out 90% of its heavy weapons from the line of contact in eastern Ukraine, DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko said on Thursday.
"In line with the Minsk agreements of February 12, the DPR forces have pulled out heavy weapons to agreed distances. We have pulled out 90% of weapons, such as artillery, mortars and the like," the Donetsk News Agency quoted him as saying.
He also said the DPR might pull its heavy weapons back to the line of contact in the event Kiev fails to begin weapons pullout by 19:00 Moscow time on February 27. "The Donetsk People’s Republic gives Kiev time till 19:00 Moscow time on February 27 to begin fulfillment of the Minsk agreements of February 12 in what concerns heavy weapons pullout. If the agreements are violated, the DPR reserves the right to pull its weapons back to the former locations of February 12, 2015," he said.
The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE adopted a memorandum on September 19, 2014 in Minsk. The document outlined the parameters for the implementation of commitments on ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5, 2014. 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.
Marathon talks between the Normandy Four leaders — Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko — in Minsk on February 12 yielded a package of agreements, which in particular envisaged ceasefire between the Ukrainian conflicting sides starting from midnight on February 15.
The package of measures envisages the pullback of all heavy weapons by both parties to locations equidistant from the disengagement line in order to create a security zone at least 50 kilometers wide for artillery systems with a caliber of 100 mm or more, a zone of security 70 kilometers wide for multiple rocket launchers and a zone 140 kilometers wide for multiple rocket launchers Tornado-S, Uragan and Smerch and the tactical rocket systems Tochka-U.
The final document says that the Ukrainian troops are to be pulled back away from the current line of engagement and the militias of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, from the engagement line set by the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014.