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DPR says Kiev’s demands that it withdraw its weapons before agreed date are absurd

October 04, 2015, 20:09 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, October 4. /TASS/. Kiev’s statement that it plans to demand via the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) pull out its weapons ahead of the schedule agreed in Minsk is absurd, Eduard Basurin, a spokesman for the DPR defence ministry, said on Sunday.

"This is a false statement. We are guided by the letter of the Minsk documents which outline a phased plan of weapons withdrawal. First, weapons are to be pulled out from the Lugansk People’s Republic, and after that - from the DPR. This is an absurd statement. It is impossible to exert pressure of the OSCE mission. IT is an independent organization which take its own decisions," the Donetsk News Agency quoted him as saying.

Earlier on Sunday, a spokesman for the force operation in eastern Ukraine at the Ukrainian president’s administration, Andrei Lysenko, said Kiev would demand via the OSCE that DPR forces begin withdrawal of weapons under 100mm caliber and tanks before the agreed date of October 18.

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. On the following day, the document was signed by the leaders of the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk, Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky. Weapons will be pulled out in two stages. 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. Thus, the entire weapons withdrawal process will take 41 days. The process will be monitored by the Joint Centre for Coordinate and Control (JCCC).

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 (DPR and LPR) 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 Friday, October 2, leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine held talks in Paris in the so-called Normandy Four 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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