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Kiev to begin withdrawing weapons Monday — headquarters

October 04, 2015, 11:53 UTC+3 KIEV
Ukraine’s military located in the Lugansk region have received 14 days to carryout actions listed in addendums to the Minsk agreements
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KIEV, October 4. /TASS/. Ukraine is preparing for withdrawal of weapons of calibre under 100mm, headquarters of the military operation in the country’s south-east said on Sunday.

"We are putting together lists of weapons and armoured equipment and discuss them with the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission," speaker of the military operation Ruslan Tkachuk said.

Ukraine’s military located in the Lugansk region have received 14 days to carryout actions listed in addendums to the Minsk agreements, he said.

"The physical withdrawal will begin on Monday, we expect. The first to be withdrawn will be tanks. We have agreed routes and areas for them. They comply fully with the international agreements and will allow a manoeuvre in case the opposite side violates the ceasefire regime," press centre of the military operation said.

"Besides, we consider a complex system of replacing tanks and artillery with ATMs."

"We are changing the fire sectors, improve the alert system - everything not to drop the firepower," the speaker said.

On Tuesday, September 29, the Trilateral Contact Group initialled a document envisaging withdrawal of weapons under 100mm calibre to a distance of 15 kilometres for the line of engagement. The first stage would begin in two days, OSCE’s (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Special Representative in Ukraine Martin Sajdik said, adding that first tanks would be pulled back, then artillery and then mortars. The first stage of 15 days will be followed by a 24-day second stage.

The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising senior representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE on February 12, 2015, signed a 13-point Package of Measures to fulfil the September 2014 Minsk agreements. The package was agreed with the leaders of the Normandy Four, namely Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine.

The Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk starting from February 15 and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.

On July 18, the Donetsk and Lugansk republics announced their plans to unilaterally withdraw tanks and armoured vehicles with a calibre of less than 100mm to a distance of at least three kilometres away from the line of military engagement.

The Donetsk republic said at the end of July it had pulled back weapons under 100mm calibre from the contact line, leaving tanks only in "hot spots" to the north of Donetsk and in Debaltsevo. The Lugansk republic said it had also completed the withdrawal of weapons from the contact line, leaving tanks and armoured vehicles only on positions near the Schastye settlement.

The republics’ self-defence forces also expressed their readiness to pull back weapons from "hot spots" if Kiev took a similar action.

On Friday, October 2, leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine held talks in Paris in the so-called Normandy format. According to Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, the talks were "intense and business-like."

He said the leaders discussed implementation of the Minsk Agreements, including withdrawal of armaments, elections, amnesty, gas issues and other crises, including air services. The Kremlin spokesman confirmed the sides held constructive talks and confirmed that the Minsk deals have no alternative.

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