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DPR makes process of weaponry withdrawal as open as possible — defense ministry

July 21, 2015, 14:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The defense ministry spokesman says that withdrawn weaponry can leave new places of deployment, but it will remain as far as three kilometers from the contact line in any case
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© EPA/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO

MOSCOW, July 21. /TASS/. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has made the process of withdrawing weaponry of less than 100mm caliber as open as possible, DPR defense ministry spokesman Eduard Basurin said on Tuesday.

"OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] observers arrived in Sanzharovka [settlement] to monitor weaponry withdrawal which the self-defense forces are completing unilaterally," the Donetsk News Agency said. "They [observers] were able to write down the numbers of withdrawn military equipment. A total of eight IFVs [infantry fighting vehicles] were withdrawn today from Sanzharovka," the agency added.

"We are purposefully making the process of weaponry withdrawal as open as possible, provide an opportunity to monitor the process at the site, write down numbers," the agency quoted Basurin as saying.

The defense ministry spokesman added that "withdrawn weaponry can leave new places of deployment, but it will remain as far as three kilometers from the contact line in any case."

Minsk agreements on Ukraine

Weaponry withdrawal is envisaged by the Minsk agreements on 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 Minsk also envisage ceasefire, prisoner exchange, local elections in Donbas, constitutional reform in Ukraine and establishing working sub-groups on security, political, economy and humanitarian components of the Minsk accords.

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

On July 18, DPR and LPR announced the start of withdrawing tanks and armored vehicles of less than 100mm caliber from the contact line to at least 3 kilometers. Withdrawing weaponry of less than 100mm caliber has been discussed in Minsk for a long time, but the sides failed to reach an agreement. DPR and LPR decided to start the withdrawal unilaterally in the interests of establishing peace.

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