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Donetsk Republic plans to complete withdrawal within Sunday

March 01, 2015, 10:31 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The DPR pulled out 21 artillery groups from the line of contact with the Kiev military
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© EPA/LUCA PIERGIOVANNI

MOSCOW, March 1. /TASS/. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) plans to finalise within Sunday, March 1, withdrawal of heavy weapons from the separation line, representative of the republic’s defence ministry Eduard Basurin told TASS.

"Yes, today we are finalising the withdrawal," he said adding the remaining convoys would be withdrawn from the southern direction.

He said the republic was not receiving exact information about the withdrawal by the Ukrainian side.

"The Ukrainian side gives only the general information that withdrawal continues. They do not specify either locations or the weapons," he said.

The DPR pulled out 21 artillery groups from the line of contact with the Kiev military, the spokesman told a briefing held at the Donetsk news agency on Saturday.

"Over the whole time of operation the DPR militias have pulled out 21 artillery groups into the rear area," Basurin said adding that on Saturday the process of withdrawal of heavy weapons had been drawing to a close.

On February 12 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 yielded a package of agreements, which in particular envisaged ceasefire between the Ukrainian conflicting sides starting from midnight on February 15. A ceasefire agreement came into effect at 01.00 Moscow time on February 15.

Concurrently, the Belarusian capital hosted a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine involving Ukraine’s ex-president Leonid Kuchma, Kiev’s special representative for humanitarian issues Viktor Medvedchuk, the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics /DPR and LPR/ Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky, and Russia’s ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov and OSCE’s envoy Heidi Tagliavini, both acting as mediators.

As a result, a package of measures was adopted to implement the Minsk agreements. 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.

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