KIEV, October 11. /TASS/. The Ukrainian side has planned to withdraw mortars in the Lugansk region on October 13, speaker of the force mission in the Lugansk region Ruslan Tkachuk said in an interview with the 112 Ukraine television broadcaster on Sunday.
"Withdrawal of mortars is planned for October 13," he said.
On Saturday, deputy head of the militia’s General Staff Col Igor Yaschenko said militia units of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) will begin withdrawing mortars from the line of engagement the week of October 12.
"The militia is preparing for withdrawal of mortars of calibre under 120mm," the LuganskInformCentre quoted him. "The mortars will be pulled back next week, which is according to the schedule of withdrawing, to the distance of at least 15 kilometres from the line of engagement."
On Saturday, speaker of Ukraine’s General Staff Vladislav Seleznev said on October 12-13 OSCE will verify the withdrawal, meaning they will "check the new locations and the ID numbers on the cannons," and 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.
On September 30, LPR’s head Igor Plotnitsky signed the supplement to the Package Measures to fulfil the Minsk agreements of February 12, 2015 referring to withdrawal of tanks and of artillery with calibre to 100mm and mortars with calibre to 120mm.
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In accordance with the reached agreement, tanks are withdrawn first, followed by artillery weapons of less than 100mm calibre and mortars.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.