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Restrictions for OSCE mission don’t involve weapons withdrawal areas, says LPR leader

March 19, 2015, 17:52 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Inside the agreed zone, they don’t need any permission as they have a mandate for checking any area inside the weapons withdrawal zone, the head of self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic explained
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© EPA/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO

MOSCOW, March 19. /TASS/. The head of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic dismissed on Thursday complaints from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission that the sides in the conflict were sometimes banning access to some areas for its officers.

They could have been banned from entering some areas if those were outside the weapons withdrawal zone, Igor Plotnitsky explained in comments to earlier reports by Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug.

"Inside the zone that we have agreed on, they don’t even need permission. They have a mandate for checking this or that area," Poltnitsky said.

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 Luhansk regions, from the engagement line set by the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014.

The self-proclaimed republics completed the withdrawal early in March. Under the Minsk agreements, the OSCE needs to confirm the withdrawal.

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