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Conflicting sides in Donbas agree to demilitarize Shirokino — OSCE mission spokesman

April 30, 2015, 15:18 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, April 30. /TASS/. The sides of conflict in Donbas have agreed to stop using weapons and military equipment in the Shirokino settlement, OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine spokesman Michael Bociurkiw told a press conference on Thursday.

The main achievement for today is that the sides have agreed to demilitarize Shirokino, Bociurkiw said, adding that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) mission in Ukraine is working on separating the conflicting sides in Shirokino.

The Contact Group on Ukraine has discussed the plans on demilitarization of Shirokino at a videoconference on April 29, head OSCE SMM to Ukraine Alexander Hug said on Thursday.

Hug said he visited Mariupol and worked in Shirokino. Before returning to Kiev, he took part in the videoconference of the Contact Group along with representatives of the Joint Center for Control and Coordination.

The SMM head noted that demilitarization of Shirokino is necessary for ensuring stability near Mariupol. The sides agreed that only ceasefire would help reach stability, and the OSCE SMM will contribute to this process, he added.

The videoconference of the Contact Group, which took place on April 29, focused on launching working sub-groups, implementing the key points of the Minsk agreements, delivering Ukrainian and international humanitarian aid to Donetsk and Luhansk and de-escalating the situation in Shirokino.

Ceasefire in eastern Ukraine is one of the key point of the Minsk agreements on the Ukrainian settlement. Other points include heavy weaponry withdrawal, prisoner exchange, local elections in Donbas and constitutional reform in Ukraine.

The Minsk accords were signed on February 12, after negotiations in the so-called "Normandy format" in the Belarusian capital Minsk, bringing together Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The talks lasted for around 14 hours. Simultaneously, a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukrainian settlement was held in Minsk.

The Ukrainian forces and the self-defense forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics have repeatedly accused each other of violating ceasefire and other points of the Minsk agreements.

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