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DPR suggests OSCE take three steps to normalize situation in Donbass

August 16, 2015, 19:55 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"Step one in to check the withdrawal of weapons of a caliber over 120mm, since our territory is being shelled from Grad multiple launch missile systems," Pushilin said
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© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

MOSCOW, August 16. /TASS/. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has come out with an initiative of three steps the mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) should make to ease tensions in eastern Ukraine, DPR’s representative in the Contact Group on the Ukrainian settlement Denis Pushilin said on Sunday.

Earlier on Sunday, he announced plans to hold emergency talks with the OSCE over the nighttime intensive shelling of Donetsk.

"We have agreed on three provisions with the OSCE. Now they are negotiating them with their leaders. Step one in to check the withdrawal of weapons of a caliber over 120mm, since our territory is being shelled from Grad multiple launch missile systems," the Donetsk News Agency quoted him as saying.

Step two is to record all episodes of shelling. "It means the OSCE SMM (Special Monitoring Mission) and the JCCC (Joint Centre for Control and Coordination) should reach the sites of shelling and take efforts in the telephone contact regime to press for ceasefire, he said. Step three is to invigorate efforts towards the signing of a document on the pullout of weapons of a caliber less than 100mm.

"We will do our utmost to get prepared for the implementation of these measures," Pushilin pledged.

Overnight to Sunday, Donetsk came under intensive shelling by Ukrainian troops. The DPR defence ministry reported shelling of the DPR territory along the entire line of engagement. According to updated reports, five people were killed and eight more were wounded.

A peace deal struck on February 12 in Minsk, Belarus, by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and people’s militias starting from February 15, followed by withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of military engagement and prisoner release. The package of measures envisages the pullback of all heavy weapons by both parties to locations equidistant from the disengagement line in order to create a security zone at least 50 kilometres wide for artillery systems with a calibre of 100 mm or more, a zone of security 70 kilometres wide for multiple rocket launchers and a zone 140 kilometres wide for multiple rocket launchers Tornado-S, Uragan and Smerch and the tactical rocket systems Tochka-U. The final document says that the Ukrainian troops are to be pulled back away from the current line of engagement and the militias of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, from the engagement line set by the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014.

The ceasefire however has been repeatedly violated.

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, the DPR 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. The 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. No final agreement however has been signed as of yet.

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