MOSCOW, August 17. /TASS/. The self-defense forces command of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) did not order to return tanks and armored vehicles equipped with weapons of less than 100mm caliber from their positions in the rear, DPR defense ministry spokesman Eduard Basurin told Donetsk News Agency on Monday.
"What concerns us, we have not yet ordered to return weaponry to positions [on the frontline]," Basurin said.
The meetings of the Contact Group on settlement of the situation in Ukraine and sub-groups started on August 3 and continued into the night. However, the sides failed to reach an agreement on one of the most pressing issues - signing the document on gradual withdrawal of tanks, armored personnel carriers and weaponry of less than 100mm caliber from the contact line. It was announced that the subgroup will continue negotiations until the final deal is made.
Envoys of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics (DPR and LPR) Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Deinego said that the text of the agreement was coordinated at the last Contact Group’s session on July 21. "The text of the document coordinated on July 21 went to a trash bin. A new version has been coordinated today, but Ukraine said ‘stop’ when preparing for signing it. We get an impression that it is just playing with the document," Deinego said. Pushilin stressed that the document was not signed because of the Ukrainian side.
Weaponry withdrawal is envisaged by the Minsk agreements on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. The Minsk accords were signed on February 12, after negotiations in the so-called "Normandy format" in the Belarusian capital Minsk, bringing together Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
The Minsk accords also envisage ceasefire, prisoner exchange, local elections in Donbas, constitutional reform in Ukraine and establishing working sub-groups on security, political, economy and humanitarian components of the Minsk accords.
The Ukrainian forces and the self-defense forces of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics have repeatedly accused each other of violating ceasefire and other points of the Minsk agreements.