MOSCOW, July 29. /TASS/. The Urkainian forces shelled the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) near Shirokino with the aim of hiding the build-up of armed forces in the region, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) defense ministry spokesperson Eduard Basurin said on Wednesday.
"Under the guise of rotating Ukrainian Armed Forces units, the anti-terrorist operation command pulls forces to the settlement of Shirokino and carries out a deterrent mortar shelling at OSCS observers to hide it," the Donetsk News Agency quoted Basurin as saying.
The OSCE mission patrol that arrived in Shirokino for an inspection on July 27, came under fire from small arms and grenade launchers. The head of the patrol was injured in the incident. DPR defense ministry reminded that there are no self-defense positions in Shirokino. "It is obvious who could fire at OSCE observers," the ministry stressed.
Shirokino remains one of hot spots at the contact line in Donbas. On June 16, DPR authorities evacuated all residents from the settlement. ON July 1, DPR unilaterally announced demilitarization and withdrew all troops and weaponry from their positions there. On July 4, OSCE SMM deputy head Alexander Hug confirmed the withdrawal of all DPR units from Shirokino. DPR claims that the Ukrainian forces still remain at their positions in the region.
During telephone talks on July 23, the leaders of the "Normandy Quartet" (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) proposed to OSCE and JCCC (Joint Center for Control and Coordination) to develop "a practical resolution" for withdrawing Ukrainian forces from Shirokino by August 3.
On July 18, the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics (DPR and LPR) announced their plans to unilaterally withdraw heavy weaponry from the contact line.
DPR announced last week that it completed the withdrawal of weaponry of less than 100mm caliber from the contact line, leaving tanks only in "hot spots" to the north of Donetsk and in Debaltsevo. LPR also completed the withdrawal of weaponry from the contact line, leaving tanks and armored vehicles only on positions near the Schastye settlement.
On July 21, the Contact Group on Ukrainian settlement reached an agreement on gradual withdrawal of weaponry of less than 100mm caliber by both sides.