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KIEV, October 6. /TASS/. Ukrainian forces plan to complete the effort to withdraw tanks on the territory of the Luhansk region controlled by Kiev already on Tuesday, the speaker of the Donbas military operation has said.
"It is known that most of T-64 and T-72 tanks have left the frontline. This stage is expected to be completed today. Then the next stage will begin, namely the withdrawal of D-48 and D-44 antitank guns with 85mm caliber and 82mm mortars," Ruslan Tkachuk said.
The center for ceasefire control and coordination has confirmed that the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic is also pulling out weapons. "This process is bilateral and is overseen by the OSCE special monitoring mission," the speaker said.
Ukraine’s forces have also started restoring utility lines in the war-torn region. A construction team has arrived in Stanitsa Luganskaya to restore a passage linking the regional center with Luhansk.
The speaker of Ukraine’s General Staff, Vladislav Seleznev, told TASS earlier that Ukrainian troops started withdrawing tanks at 9 a.m. on Monday and plan to complete the effort within two days. Then the withdrawal of artillery systems will be launched.
Under the Minsk peace deal, the Luhansk republic began withdrawing tanks from the contact line on Saturday. The neighboring Donetsk republic said it would start withdrawing weapons after October 18 on condition that ceasefire is observed.
On September 29, the Contact Group for peaceful settlement initialed an agreement in addition to the Minsk deal concerning the withdrawal of tanks and also artillery weapons with caliber under 100mm and mortars with caliber under 120mm. The next day, the document was signed by the DPR and LPR leaders, Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky.
Under the agreement, the parties will first withdraw tanks, then artillery weapons with the caliber under 100mm and mortars to the distance of 15 kilometers from the each side of the contact line.
The overall withdrawal effort is expected to take 41 days.