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Kiev says it has withdrawn 60 tanks from engagement line in Donbas over day

October 20, 2015, 20:39 UTC+3 KIEV
The second stage of withdrawal of tanks, mortars under 120 mm caliber and artillery systems under 100mm caliber has started at the Debaltsevo section
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© Konstantin Cherginsky/TASS

KIEV, October 20. /TASS/. Kiev withdrew 60 tanks from the line of engagement in Donbas on Tuesday, the press centre of the force operation said.

"About 60 Ukrainian tanks were withdrawn during the day to a distance of 15 kilometers from the engagement line," the press centre said, adding that they could be pulled back in a span of one hour if need be.

According to the press center, no violations of the Minsk agreements had been reported in the force operation zone on Tuesday.

"The second stage of withdrawal of tanks, mortars under 120 mm caliber and artillery systems under 100mm caliber has started at the Debaltsevo section," the press centre said.

On September 29, the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine initialled a document envisaging withdrawal of weapons under 100mm calibre to a distance of 15 kilometres for the line of engagement. On the following day, the document was signed by the leaders of the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Luhansk, Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky. Weapons are to be pulled out in two stages. First tanks are to be pulled back, then artillery and then mortars. The first stage of 15 days is to be followed by a 24-day second stage. The withdrawal started in Sector North on the LPR territory to be continued in Sector South in the DPR (Donetsk People’s Republic). Thus, the entire weapons withdrawal process will take 41 days. The process will be monitored by the Joint Centre for Coordinate and Control (JCCC).

The Contact Group signed the key package of measures for peaceful settlement in Donbas, known as Minsk-2, on February 12. Under the document, the sides are to withdraw heavy weapons from the contact line, namely artillery systems of 100 mm caliber or more to the distance of at least 50 km, multiple rocket launcher systems (MLRS) to the distance of 70 km and most powerful Tornado-S, Uragan and Smerch MLRS, as well as tactical missile systems Tochka/Tochka U to the distance of 140 km.

The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.

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