MOSCOW, October 28. /TASS/. The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has started the second stage of withdrawing weaponry of less than 100m caliber. Artillery will be withdrawn from the contact line in Donbas today.
‘We have already started withdrawing artillery. The distance from the current positions of the weaponry to the contact line is 11.7 kilometers. We will withdraw weapons further back to Ilovaysk," Donetsk News Agency quoted DPR defense ministry’s military unit commander Ruslan Yakubov as saying.
According to the Donetsk News Agency, the process of withdrawal is being monitored by specialists from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) and Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC).
DPR defense ministry said earlier that 15 Rapira anti-tank guns will be withdrawn to Ilovaysk. Last Thursday, on October 22, DPR completed withdrawal of tanks from the contact line.
The withdrawal will be completed in three stages - firstly, from the Deblatsevo 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In accordance with the reached agreement, tanks are withdrawn first, followed by artillery weapons of less than 100mm caliber and mortars.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.