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MOSCOW, August 23. /TASS/. Ukraine’s armed forces begun clearing mine fields from their positions towards the front line to provide smooth movement of the contingent during an attack on the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), the republic’s defence ministry said on Sunday.
"From the Golmovsky settlement (controlled by Kiev) towards the front line we see then demine fields in preparations for an attack," the Donetsk News Agency quoted the ministry’s representative Eduard Basurin.
The ministry reported during the night to Sunday the Ukrainian military continued pulling heavy weapons and contingent for a future attack.
"In Konstantinovka, up to 40 pieces of weapons have arrived, including SPG (self-propelled gun) and the contingent," the representative said.
Situation around Ukraine's crisis
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 Luhansk regions, from the engagement line set by the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014.
The DPR (Donetsk People’s Republic) completed the withdrawal of its heavy weapons by March 1. Nevertheless, in recent days populated localities in the Donetsk People’s Republic have come under intensive shelling from the positions of the Ukraine army, which is using heavy artillery and multiple rocket launcher systems.
Observation of the ceasefire regime depends fully on the Ukrainian side, the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR (Luhansk People’s Republic) say.
On August 22, DPR’s envoy to the peace talks Denis Pushilin said because of the continuing shelling of the front line, the republic has made a decision to evacuate civilians.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the violence in Ukraine has killed 6,500 people in the past year, wounded 16,000 and left 5 million people in need of humanitarian aid. With more than 1.3 million registered IDPs, Ukraine has now the ninth largest number of internally displaced in the world, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.