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Ukraine completes first stage of withdrawal of tanks from contact line in Donbas

October 20, 2015, 17:33 UTC+3 KIEV

This is the first stage of tank withdrawal by Kiev forces in east Ukraine

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© AP Photo/Inna Varenytsia

KIEV, October 20. /TASS/. Ukrainian forces have completed the first stage of withdrawing tanks in the Artemivsk direction in the Donetsk Region, Ukrainian governmental press service said on Tuesday.

"Ukrainian Armed Forces completed withdrawal in the Artemivsk direction. This is the first stage of tank withdrawal by ATO [Kiev’s military operation in east Ukraine] forces in accordance with the Minsk Agreements," the press service added noting that artillery and mortars are planned to be withdrawn as well soon.

"OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] mission representatives have verified the vehicles. In particular, they compared the numbers of vehicles with lists declared earlier," the press service said.

Ukrainian forces are "withdrawing weaponry in the remaining part of the Luhansk Region - in the Popasnyansky district," military operation’s press service head Ruslan Tkachuk said.

The supplement to the Package of measures on implementing the Minsk Agreements from 12 February 2015 was agreed upon on September 29 at the negotiations of the Contact Group in Minsk. The supplement envisages withdrawal of tanks, artillery weapons of less than 100mm caliber, and mortars of equal to or less than 120mm caliber to a distance of 15 kilometers from the contact line in Donbas. 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In accordance with the reached agreement, tanks are withdrawn first, followed by artillery weapons of less than 100mm caliber and mortars.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.

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