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Kiev says deploying weaponry in Donbas "not at variance with Minsk deals"

August 12, 2015, 18:21 UTC+3 KIEV
The secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine said Kiev is developing "active defense in the east"
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Ukrainian self-propelled artillery vehicle (archive)

Ukrainian self-propelled artillery vehicle (archive)

© AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka

KIEV, August 12. /TASS/. Ukrainian military are deploying artillery in Donbas while at the same time observing the Minsk agreements, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Oleksandr Turchynov, said on Wednesday.

"We are developing active defense in the east, strengthening our armed forces with new weapons and hardware. Active defense envisages efficient reaction to any provocations by the enemy," he said while examining new pieces of artillery deployed in the troubled Donbas.

According to Turchynov, "the hardware is situated at the distance coordinated by the Minsk protocol."

Almost 100 Ukrainian armored vehicles spotted on contact line

The defense ministry spokesman of the self-proclaimed Donetsk republic said on Wednesday that more than 90 tanks, artillery and armored vehicles of Ukraine’s Armed Forces have been moved towards the contact line in Donbas.

The movement of troops and equipment to the areas close to the frontline comes with the use of fraudulent maneuvers, Eduard Basurin told reporters citing intelligence data.

The vehicles were found in the villages of Kodema, Prohorovka, Nevelsky and Andreyevka.

This comes in violation of the February 12 Minsk agreements which envisage the pullout of all heavy weapons by both sides to equal distance with the aim of creating a security zone on at least 50 kilometers apart for artillery systems of 100 mm caliber or more.

Moscow calls on Kiev to show restraint

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday called on Kiev to demonstrate restraint and not to violate the implementation of the Minsk agreements in the sphere of security by irresponsible actions.

"The recent days have been marked by the worsening situation along the line of contact separating the parties in conflict in south-eastern Ukraine," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "Reports have been made on increased shelling of populated localities, destruction, victims and peaceful civilians hurt in the Donbas conflict," the ministry stressed.

"Regrettably, Kiev’s militant rhetoric has also increased," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "The Ukrainian side refused to sign the practically finished and agreed document on pulling out tanks and weapons with caliber under 100 mm and mortars under 120 mm to 15 kilometres away from the disengagement line during the last Contact Group meeting in Minsk on August 3-4," the ministry went on to say.

The move, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, was supposed to de-escalate confrontation in the region but the Ukrainian authorities, peremptorily referring to some threats and provocations, have started saying they will return Ukraine’s heavy weapons and artillery systems withdrawn to the rear positions under the February 12 package of measures to implement the Minsk agreements (Minsk-2) to their previous combat positions," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"We are calling on the Ukrainian side to demonstrate restraint and not to violate the implementation of the Minsk agreements in the sphere of security by irresponsible actions," the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed.

Ukrainian military try to break the militias’ defense 

The Ukrainian military tried to break the militias’ defense near the village of Starognatovka on the Mariupol direction early on August 10.

"After two hours of massive artillery preparation from large-caliber guns, Grad multiple rocket launchers, tanks and mortars near the Petrovskoye, Novaya Laspa and the Belaya Kamenka populated localities, the enemy used six armoured vehicles and six tanks to launch an offensive in the direction of Starognatovka and Belaya Kamenka," Eduard Basurin, the spokesperson for the Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, told a briefing held at the Donetsk news agency.

He added that foreign drones and powerful field radio-electronic warfare complexes had been noticed in the vicinity of those populated localities since 3 o’clock in the morning on August 10.

A battle broke out between the Ukrainian troops and the militias. The Ukrainian military, Basurin said, were stopped and thrown back to the start line from where they continued shelling Petrovskoye and Belaya Kamenka.

The leadership of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has asked the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to investigate Ukraine’s offensive near Starognatovka.

"Last night, the Ukrainian military committed another gross violation of the Minsk agreements. They knew that we had lived up to our commitment to withdraw all heavy weapons, including with a caliber under 100mm (from the disengagement line), and decided to take advantage of the situation to move deep into the DPR’s territory," Basurin said.

"We are calling on the OSCE SMM and the Joint Control and Coordination Centre to carry out immediate and detailed investigation into the attack. We also want the world community to be informed about the incident," he added.

Basurin also called on Germany, France and Russia that guarantee the implementation of the Minsk agreements to influence the Kiev leadership and make it end its provocations and stop the shelling of the self-proclaimed Donetsk republic.

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