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Donetsk republic seeks weapons withdrawal deal at next Minsk talks

August 13, 2015, 10:35 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Only the Minsk talks can prevent a large-scale war, DPR representative at the Contact Group says

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© TASS/Mikhail Sokolov

MOSCOW, August 13. /TASS/. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic expects to sign a document on withdrawing weapons under 100mm caliber at the next meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk, DPR’s negotiator Denis Pushilin has said.

The trilateral Contact Group of senior representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office is scheduled to meet in the Belarusian capital on August 26.

"We have an understanding that by August 26 there should be a decision which has to be reached during these days left," Pushilin told the Russian News Service radio station.

"First, the security subgroup should sign a document on the pullout of hardware under 100mm caliber. This is crucial to stop the shellings that have been recently on the rise and that in fact lead to deaths and destruction," Pushilin said.

Besides, the parties could exchange documents and "some views" as part of the security subgroup during these two weeks before the Minsk meeting, the negotiator said.

Pushilin also stressed that only the Minsk talks can prevent a large-scale war.

"I have voiced concerns that if a consensus or a compromise on a number of issues is not found, the conflict in Donbas could grow into a big war as a result," he said.

"We as politicians have the task to prevent this by searching a compromise on the issues of both political character and also on security. While the chance to settle the situation at the negotiating table remains, it should be used," he stressed.

Wednesday marked six months since the Minsk accords were signed on February 12, after talks in the so-called "Normandy format" in the Belarusian capital, bringing together the Russian, French, German and Ukrainian leaders.

The Minsk agreements envisage ceasefire, weaponry withdrawal, prisoner exchange, local elections in Donbas, constitutional reform in Ukraine and establishing working sub-groups on security, political, economy and humanitarian issues.

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

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