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KIEV, October 10. /TASS/. Units of the Ukrainian armed forces located in the Lugansk region began on Saturday withdrawal from the line of engagement of artillery with calibre under 100mm, which will be finalised within two days, speaker of the country’s General Staff Vladislav Seleznev told TASS.
"This morning we began withdrawing cannons from the engagement line in the Lugansk region to the distance as per the Minsk Agreements," he said. "The process will take two days, and tomorrow we shall demonstrate the cannons are pulled back."
He said on October 12-13 OSCE will verify the withdrawal, meaning they will "check the new locations and the ID numbers on the cannons."
The speaker said after that "in the Lugansk region will begin the process of withdrawing mortars of calibre under 100 mm, which is due to be completed by October 17."
In accordance with the Minsk Agreements, the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) started withdrawing tanks from the contact line in Donbass on October 3. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) defence ministry said that weaponry withdrawal on its territory will start after October 18 if ceasefire holds.
The supplement to the Package of Measures on Implementing the Minsk Agreements from 12 February 2015 was agreed upon on September 29 at a meeting of the Contact Group on settlement the Ukrainian crisis, which was organised in Minsk (Belarus). The supplement envisages withdrawal of tanks, artillery weapons of less than 100mm calibre, and mortars of equal to or less than 120mm calibre to a distance of 15 kilometres from the contact line in Donbass. On September 30, the document was signed by DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko and LPR head Igor Plotnitsky.
In accordance with the reached agreement, tanks are withdrawn first, followed by artillery weapons of less than 100mm calibre and mortars. The first stage should start two days after the complete ceasefire and finish in 15 days. The second stage will take 24 days to complete. The withdrawal will start in the "North" sector on the LPR territory and will continue in the "South" sector in DPR. The whole process of withdrawal is expected to take a total of 41 days.
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 Pyotr Poroshenko.
The Minsk accords envisage ceasefire, weaponry withdrawal, prisoner exchange, local election in Donbass, constitutional reform in Ukraine and establishing working sub-groups on security, political, economy and humanitarian components of the Minsk accords.