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Germany welcomes DPR, LPR decision to withdraw weapons, though without OSCE confirmation

July 20, 2015, 14:38 UTC+3 BERLIN

Situation in Ukraine remains tense and it is impossible to be speaking about whatever easing of the situation or about overcoming the crisis in Ukraine’s east, German Foreign minister's spokesman says

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© TASS/Mikhail Sokolov

BERLIN, July 20. /TASS/. Germany welcomes the decision of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) to withdraw heavy weapons from the line of engagement, however still cannot comment on the process due to a lack of objective information, spokesman of the German Foreign minister Martin Schaefer told a briefing on Monday.

"We welcome the announcement from the separatists, which was published in many Russian media, that they adhere to the Minsk agreements and withdraw heavy weapons along the entire line of engagement," he said. "I cannot say we have now any independent confirmations from OSCE proving DPR and LPR are fulfilling what they have announced."

Berlin says the situation in Ukraine remains tense. "Unfortunately, as yet it is impossible to be speaking about whatever easing of the situation or about overcoming the crisis in the country’s east," he said adding the German government continued watching closely development of the events in that republic.

On Saturday, July 18, DPR and LPR announced withdrawing from the line of engagement of tanks and armored vehicles equipped with guns of under 100mm calibre to the distance of at least 3 kilometers. Within July 19, DPR withdrew 41 tanks and 84 infantry fighting vehicles. LPR as of 08:00 p.m. on July 19 finalized withdrawal of all the weapons of under 100mm calibre from the line of engagement with the exception for the area near the settlement of Schastye.

The ceasefire regime in Donbas was announced officially on February 15.

Regular talks of the participants in the Trilateral Contact Group on the east Ukrainian settlement comprising representatives of Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were held in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk on February 10-12. Talks of the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France, and Ukraine) leaders on the Ukrainian issue also ended February 12 in Minsk.

A 13-point Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk agreements was adopted at the February talks.

The package 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, including enforcement of a special self-rule status for certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The ceasefire has been repeatedly violated since.

On Friday, the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) leaders discussed on the phone on Friday the development of the situation in the southeast of Ukraine within the context of implementation of the Minsk agreements of February 12, 2015. "Particular attention was paid to issues of holding a constitutional reform in Ukraine and organizing local elections in Donbas, as well as social and economic restoration of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, an actual blockade of these regions being a major obstacle to this, as the Russian president noted," the Kremlin said.

Another meeting of the Contact Group on settlement of the situation in Ukraine’s Donbas is due in Minsk on July 21.

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