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Ukraine begins artillery pullout from contact line under OSCE supervision

February 26, 2015, 21:47 UTC+3 KIEV
According to the acting head of Ukraine Defense Ministry's press service, the pullout of 100-mm artillery guns is taking place along the whole stretch of the contact line
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© TASS/EPA/ANASTASIA VLASOVA

KIEV, February 26. /TASS/. Ukrainian military began pullout of its artillery from the contact line with the self-proclaimed south-eastern region under the supervision of observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanik, acting head of the press service of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry, said on Thursday.

He said that the pullout of 100-mm artillery guns is taking place along the whole stretch of the contact line and the troops are in particular withdrawing MT-12 Rapira anti-tank guns to new places of deployment located at least 25 kilometers away from the line of contact.

The OSCE, which has been tasked with monitoring the process, expressed concerns on Wednesday that Kiev forces were not pulling out their heavy armaments, Russia’s envoy to the organization, Andrey Kelin, said.

Denis Pushilin, Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) envoy to the Contact Group, said earlier in the day that in contradiction to the Minsk accords on the Ukrainian conflict settlement Kiev authorities were not pulling out its heavy weaponry from the contact line.

Also earlier in the day Igor Plotnitsky, the leader of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) said that his republic withdrew almost 80% of heavy weaponry in line with the Minsk agreements and OSCE monitors confirmed that fact.

However, Plotnitsky said that Kiev troops withdrew only 15 or 20% of its military hardware adding that "they are not fulfilling the Minsk agreements."

Heavy weapons pullout in eastern Ukraine

The pullout of all heavy weapons by both sides, one of the key points of the agreements reached by the Normandy Four leaders in the Belarusian capital on February 12, was to start no later than the second day after the February 15 ceasefire and finish within two weeks.

The joint center for control and coordination of the ceasefire earlier reported that the Donetsk and Luhansk militias had initiated the weaponry pullout on February 18.

Kiev's military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said two days ago that Kiev would start heavy weaponry withdrawal from the contact line if the "silence regime" was observed for two days.

The OSCE, which has been tasked with monitoring the process, expressed concerns on Wednesday that Kiev forces were not pulling out their heavy armaments, Russia’s envoy to the organization, Andrey Kelin, said.

 

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