MOSCOW, July 5. /TASS/. Unilateral withdrawal of forces by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) from the settlement of Shirokino located at the line of engagement in Donbass was a gesture of good will ahead of another meeting in Minsk, DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko told journalists on Sunday.
"Ahead of the Minsk meeting, we have made a gesture of good will and demonstrated that problems can be settled by political means. We have turned from the conflict zone to a zone of peace," the Donetsk News Agency quoted him as saying.
He said the situation in Shirokino was monitored by representatives of the Joint Centre for Coordination and Control (JCCC).
Earlier on Sunday, DPR Defence Minister Vladimir Kononov he hope the Ukrainian command of the force operation in Donbass would follow DPR’s lead and withdraw its troops from Shirokino. "We hope common sense would get the upper hand with the Ukrainian side. We, on our part, have already pulled put our troops. We don’t want to waste the lives and health of our servicemen," the Donetsk News Agency quoted him as saying.
On July 1, the DPR authorities announced unilateral demilitarization of the settlement of Shirokino. By today, all DPR militias have been withdrawn from this settlement. This fact has been confirmed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The Minsk accords were signed on February 12, 2015 after 14-hour negotiations between the leaders of Normandy Four (Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko) in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk. Concurrently, Minsk hosted a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukrainian settlement.
A 13-point Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk agreements in particular included an agreement on cessation of fire from February 15, withdrawal of heavy armaments, as well as measures on long-term political settlement of the situation in Ukraine.
The ceasefire however has been repeatedly violated.