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OSCE confirms Luhansk republic has completed tank withdrawal

October 22, 2015, 17:34 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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© TASS/Mikhail Sokolov

MOSCOW, October 22. /TASS/. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has confirmed that the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) withdrew weaponry of less than 100mm caliber from the contact line, LPR first deputy headquarters head Sergey Kozlov said on Thursday.

"Today, on October 22, OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) has verified the tanks withdrawn from the 15-kilometer buffer zone to a specially equipped localition in accordance with the Supplement to the Minsk Agreements," Luhansk Inform Center quoted Kozlov as saying. "OSCE SMM representatives thus officially confirmed that LPR fulfilled its commitments," he added.

The withdrawal will be completed in three stages - firstly, from the Debaltsevo direction, then from the southern direction and lastly from the contact line near Donetsk. DPR defense ministry spokesman Eduard Basurin said that launching the new stage of withdrawing weaponry of less than 100mm caliber in DPR has been postponed from October 18 to October 21 due to regular violations of ceasefire regime by Ukrainian forces.

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 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In accordance with the reached agreement, tanks are withdrawn first, followed by artillery weapons of less than 100mm caliber and mortars.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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