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KIEV, Matcj 6. /TASS/. Ukraine’s army has finished the pullout of Uragan multiple launch rocket systems from the line of contact, the press service of the force operation said on Friday on its Facebook account.
"Within the framework of the implementation of the Minsk agreements in the zone of the anti-terrorist operation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, pullout of artillery systems is continued. Thus, today, on March 6, multiple launch rocket systems 9K57 Uragan were withdrawn from combat positions along the entire line of contact," the press service said. "Artillery units are prepared to be loaded onto railway transport to be taken to certain positions."
Earlier, the press service said, 100 mm anti-tank guns MT-12 Rapira, 152 mm self-propelled artillery units 2C3 Akatsiya, and multiple launch rocket systems BM-21 Grad had been withdrawn from the line of contact to a distance of at least 25 kilometers.
"The Ukrainian side is demonstrating its readiness to solve the conflict by weaponless means and return to peaceful life," the press service said. Ukrainian troops "are expecting the other party to take similar steps to deescalate the situation in Donbass."
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.
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 Luhansk 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.
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.