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DONETSK, May 12. /TASS/. International observers have spotted the positions of Ukrainian multiple rocket launch systems (MLRS) and artillery in the demilitarised zone in Kiev-controlled territories, a deputy corps commander of the Defence Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Eduard Basurin told reporters on Tuesday.
"Representatives of the OSCE [Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe] mission have spotted two BM-30 "Smerch" MLRS, one BM-21 "Grad" MLRS and four towed guns, allegedly M-46 with 130-mm calibre and 27-km range, two 152-mm MSTA-B howitzers in the demilitarised zone in the territory controlled by the Ukrainian security forces," the Donetsk news agency quoted him as saying. "This is a flagrant violation of the Minsk agreements by the Ukrainian side."
"Moreover," Basurin said, "an OSCE drone has recorded shelling from three 152-mm howitzers from the Pionerskoye settlement in the eastern direction. Two hours later, the same drone spotted a burning house in the Shirokino locality, which confirms the use of prohibited weapons by the Ukrainian security forces."
According to the Minsk agreements’ implementation plan, signed by the Contact Group on February 12, the agency says, artillery weapons of 100-mm calibre and more should be pulled out to a distance of 50 km from each other, MLRS - to 70 km, MLRS Tornado, Hurricane, Smerch, as well as the Tochka missiles - to 140 km. The parties must withdraw their weapons at equal distances: Kiev - from the current contact line, and the DPR and LPR self-proclaimed republics - from the line fixed by the Minsk memorandum of September 19.
Meanwhile, Eduard Basurin said that the Ukrainian security forces have been intentionally firing at observers of the OSCE special monitoring mission in Ukraine (SMM). "It’s important to note that the Ukrainian side in recent days has been deliberately firing at representatives of international monitoring missions. In particular, on May 8 the Ukrainian security forces deliberately fired an automatic grenade launcher at representatives of the Fund for the Study of Democracy Problems who arrived in Shirokino on a civilian mission. The shelling started when the Fund members started to study the craters from explosions of prohibited-calibre projectiles used by the Ukrainian security forces," the defence spokesman is quoted by the Donetsk news agency.
Basurin also said that on May 11, a shelling attack was launched from the positions of the Ukrainian armed forces on Shirokino where a patrol of the OSCE mission was staying at the moment. "The mission representatives had to leave the town for security considerations," he said.
The DPR Defence Ministry also says that "most likely, the Ukrainian side seeks to hinder the work of international monitoring missions to identify the facts of the use of prohibited weapons by the armed forces of Ukraine.".