MOSCOW, March 12. /TASS/. The Ukrainian Armed Forces are beginning combat exercises near the line of engagement with the positions of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, the republic’s Defense Ministry said.
"According to a reliable source in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the Ukrainian military begin exercises and live firing practice near Mayorsk village, northwest of Gorlovka," the Donetsk news agency quotes the Defense Ministry as saying.
The Defense Ministry pointed out that bearing in mind the territorial location of Mayorsk, it will be very hard to observe the distance established by the Minsk accords.
The DPR Defense Ministry’s spokesman Eduard Basurin said significant Ukrainian troop reinforcements have been registered near the key port city of Mariupol and the Peski village near Donetsk.
Motorized infantry units continue being deployed to the contact line from the back areas and convoys with ammunition and building materials for fortifications are heading there, he said.
New artillery positions for Grad BM-21 multiple rocket launcher system batteries have been set up in the Donetsk direction to the north of Staryi Krym, he said. One more Grad BM-21 MRLS is located some 6 kilometers to the north-east of Starogranatovka, in the Donetsk region.
Some concentration of heavy artillery is also seen in the Mariupol direction near the Gnutovo village where a battery of four Grads is set up. In the Lugansk direction, six Grads are deployed in violation of the Minsk agreements, he said.
"We send all the information about these or other violations of the Minsk agreements to the Joint Center for Control and Coordination of ceasefire," Basurin said.
The self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic representative at Contact Group Vladislav Deinego said that Kiev continues military preparations near the LPR borders.
"According to our intelligence data, there is a concentration of heavy artillery, armaments and tanks in the security zone," Deinego told a meeting of the Russian Federation Council Committee for public support of south-eastern Ukraine residents.
"There is information that there are self-propelled artillery systems in the security zone from which all the heavy armament need to have been already withdrawn," he said.
While the negotiation process on complying with the Minsk agreements is being delayed, "the Ukrainian military buildup is underway in the areas adjacent to the conflict zone," Deinego said.
Kiev is carrying out works on building fortifications and concentrating armaments and troops, he said. The envoy also confirmed that military instructors from the United States have already arrived in Kharkov, in the country’s north-east.
The self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic has identified violations of the ceasefire regime by Kiev with the use heavy weapons that should have already been pulled back, Vladislav Deinego went on to say.
"By the beginning of March, we completed the withdrawal of weapons in accordance with the schedule", Deynego said. "However, there’s no confirmed information that Ukraine took similar steps. The Ukrainian side has made a series of contradictory statements to this effect, which calls in question the whole process", he added.
"Ukraine should have withdrawn its weapons by March 7, but ceasefire violations with the use of heavy weapons were recorded after that date, specifically, on March 9 and 11", the envoy said.
Deinego pointed to the "obvious decrease in the activity of the Contact Group". "Contact Group members haven’t met "in person" since February 12, there were no meetings with the involvement of the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, and video conferences are not held on a regular basis", Deynego said.