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Security subgroup to submit to Contact Group two texts on weapons withdrawal on August 26

August 04, 2015, 22:38 updated at: August 04, 2015, 23:02 UTC+3
@The working subgroup on security has failed to reach common grounds. Opinions divided, so the text was drafted in two editions," representative of the self-proclaimed LPR said
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Vladislav Deinego

Vladislav Deinego

© Ramil Nasibulin/BelTA/TASS

MOSCOW, August 4, /TASS/. The working subgroup on security issues will submit to the Contact Group two editions of an agreement on weapons withdrawal on August 26, representative of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) at the Minsk talks Vladislav Deinego said on Tuesday.

"The subgroup has just ended its meeting. The working subgroup on security has failed to reach common grounds. Opinions divided, so the text was drafted in two editions," LuganskInformCentre quoted him as saying. "One the texts indicates difference on separate sections, in a squared edition as of 22:00 yesterday. The other one is the edition Ukraine is insisting on after it turned down the agreed edition."

"And now these two texts are to be considered by the Contact Group on August 26," he added.

The LPR envoy said he hoped the Normandy Four leaders would use their influence to make Kiev withdraw weapons of less than 100mm caliber from the line of engagement. He said he did not rule out that the Ukrainian side was planning an offensive at the most problem section of the contact line and that was why it was so reluctant to withdraw its troops.

"These are the sections from where the Ukrainian side regularly shells [DPR and LPR territories]. And they want to reserve this possibility for themselves," he said. "Judging by their persistence on that matter without any reasonable arguments, it makes one think that Ukraine is planning an offensive at these sections."

On Monday, August 3, the Contact Group and its subgroups held a meeting in the Belarusian capital city Minsk. The meeting lasted late into the night but failed to yield one of the most expected results - the initialing of the text of the agreement on phased withdrawal of tanks, armoured vehicles and weapons of a caliber less than 100mm from the line of engagement. So, it was decided that the subgroup on security, which addressed this issue, would continue its meeting until the final text was adopted. The group resumed its session on Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday evening, the Belarusian foreign ministry said the meeting of the security subgroup was over. Apart from that, a source close to the talks told TASS the current round of talks on the Ukrainian settlement was over too.

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, including establishment of working subgroups as priority tasks.

The ceasefire however has been repeatedly violated. The Ukrainian forces and the self-defense forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics have repeatedly accused each other of violating ceasefire and other points of the Minsk agreements.

On July 18, the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics (DPR and LPR) announced their plans to unilaterally withdraw heavy weaponry from the engagement line. By late July, said it had 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 phased withdrawal of weaponry of less than 100mm caliber by both sides.

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