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Kiev claims pulling back ‘significant amount’ of heavy weapons in Donbas

March 09, 2015, 16:10 UTC+3 Kiev

The self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics completed withdrawal of heavy weapons on March 1

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Kiev, 9 March. /TASS/. Ukraine has pulled back a "significant amount" of heavy weapons in Donbass under the Minsk agreements, spokesman for Kiev’s military operation Andriy Lysenko said on Monday.

"The Ukrainian side has completed four stages of the pull-back under supervision of the OSCE representatives and in presence of the foreign and Ukrainian media," he said.

He said the headquarters had not received as yet confirmations the militia has withdrawn their heavy weapons.

"We are not going to expose the front, we are waiting for the enemy to prove they have withdrawn heavy weapons to certain districts," the spokesman said.

The self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR) announced earlier that as of March 1 they completed fully withdrawal of heavy weapons in compliance with the Minsk agreement.

Minsk peace deals and their implementation

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 calibres of over 100 millimetres to a distance of 15 kilometres 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 Lugansk People’s Republics 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 kilometres wide for artillery systems with a calibre of 100 mm or more, a zone of security 70 kilometres wide for multiple rocket launchers and a zone 140 kilometres 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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