MOSCOW, October 17. /TASS/. People’s militia of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) has confirmed the Ukrainian military withdrew from the line of engagement mortars of calibre under 120mm, the republic’s spokesman for the defence authority Major General Sergei Kozlov said on Saturday.
"LPR’s people’s militia confirms the military have withdrawn the mortars," LuganskInformCentre quoted him. "According to the information we have, the Ukrainian side has withdrawn from the territories mentioned in the supplement to the Complex of Measures, mortars of calibre under 120 mm."
Kozlov also said representatives of the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of the Organisation for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) have finalised verification of weapons of calibre under 100mm and equipment, which the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) withdrew during the first stage of fulfilling the supplement to the Package Measures to fulfil the Minsk agreements.
"The OSCE Mission has finalised verification of the mortars of calibre under 120mm inclusive, which the people’s militia withdrew," the LuganskInformCenter quoted him. "Thus, we have finalised successfully the first stage of the withdrawal."
On October 15, LPR finalised withdrawal of mortars from the engagement line in Donbass. The Ukrainian side on its part reported on October 16 it completed the first stage by withdrawal of mortars of calibre under 100mm in the Lugansk region.
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In accordance with the reached agreement, tanks are withdrawn first, followed by artillery weapons of less than 100mm calibre and mortars.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.