MOSCOW, March 19. /TASS/. Ukraine’s troops opened artillery fire at the territory of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) nine times on Thursday, the DPR defense ministry said.
"Nine episodes of shelling were reported in the daytime," the Donetsk News Agency quoted a ministry’s spokesman as saying.
The ministry said the Donetsk airport and the settlements of Spartak and Shirokino had come under shelling. "The airport was shelled from grenade launchers and mortars, Spartak was shelled from air defense systems, mortars, grenade launchers and anti-tank guided missiles, Shirokino came under gunfire, tank and mortar fire," the ministry said.
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.
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.