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MOSCOW, October 16. /TASS/. Conditions have been created in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) for beginning the second stage of weapons withdrawal from the contact line, DPR parliament speaker Denis Pushilin said on Friday.
"I can attest that the necessary conditions have been created for pulling back military equipment, and we will deal with the violations that we see now during a Skype conference call in the near future. But in general the situation is quite favorable," Donetsk News Agency quotes him as saying.
The supplement to the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements of February 12 concerning the withdrawal of tanks, artillery pieces with caliber under 100 mm and mortars with caliber under 120 mm was initialed on September 29 during the talks of the Contact Group in Minsk, Belarus. On September 30, the document was signed by heads of Donetsk and Luhansk republics Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky.
The self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) began withdrawing tanks from the contact line on October 3. The DPR Defense Ministry said it would begin pulling back weapons after October 18 in accordance with the agreement reached, if the ceasefire is observed.
The date for local election in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) set for 20 April 2016 is not final and can be changed depending on Kiev’s next steps, DPR envoy to Contact Group Denis Pushilin went on to say.
"The date is rather conditional and approximate. The final [date] will be confirmed proceeding from how well Kiev fulfills its commitments and to what extent guarantor countries — Germany, France — can influence Kiev," Donetsk News Agency quoted Pushilin as saying.
On October 6, after the meeting of the leaders of the "Normandy Quartet" (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine), DPR and LPR (self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic) agreed to postpone local election from October 18 and November 1 respectively to 2016 under the condition that Kiev implements all political points of the Minsk Agreements.
The new dates for elections in Donbas are April 20 in DPR and 21 February 2016 in LPR.
Postponing election in Donbas will create favorable conditions for starting discussion on the political settlement, Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesperson Maria Zakharova said earlier.
"The Contact Group continued working on October 6 in Minsk looking for a solution to practical issues of settlement in Ukraine, including with consideration of the summit of the ‘Normandy Quartet’ [Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine] that took place in Paris on October 2," she noted. "The statement of DPR and LPR [self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics] about postponing elections until September is very important," Zakharova said.
"We hope that this step will create favorable atmosphere for starting discussions on key problems of the political settlement. This will allow to find not only common ground, but also win-win solutions of the problem," she added.