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Kiev accused of pulling 20 tanks, 6 artillery systems to engagement line in Donbas

November 02, 2015, 20:01 UTC+3 MOSCOW

OSCE SMM has been accused of making mistakes when verifying serial numbers and quantity of withdrawn weapons

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© AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, Archive

MOSCOW, November 2. /TASS/. Ukraine is pulling self-propelled artillery and tanks to the line of engagement in Donbas, Eduard Basurin, a spokesman for the defense ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), said on Monday, citing reconnaissance data.

"Six self-propelled artillery systems were spotted in the settlement of Nikolayevka. Up to ten tanks have been pulled to the settlement of Stepnoye southwest of Donetsk from Kiev-controlled territories. The same number of tanks have been pulled to the village of Volchye near Donetsk," the Donetsk News Agency quoted him as saying.

OSCE accused of making mistakes when verifying serial numbers and quantity of withdrawn weapons

Basurin also said the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine had made a mistake in one of its daily reports concerning the quantity of military hardware withdrawn by the DPR and the fixation of serial numbers of weapons.

Denis Pushilin, who represents the DPR in the Contact Group, said earlier that the republic had asked the OSCE for an objective investigation into the correctness of monitors’ information on withdrawal of heavy weapons from the disengagement line.

"We have recently noted some inaccuracies in the SMM work. The OSCE daily report for October 29, 2015 did not contain objective information on the withdrawal of artillery and heavy weapons from the contact line. According to DPR experts, the figures for the withdrawn weapons pieces did not match the reality," Pushilin stressed.

"In its report (of October 29) the OSCE monitors said that one self-propelled artillery installation was missing from a storage place for the withdrawn military hardware. They also noted discrepancies in the serial number of a withdrawn tank despite the fact that they had checked the numbers and they were correct," the Donetsk News Agency quoted Eduard Basurin, a spokesperson for the DPR’s Defence Ministry, as saying.

Basurin also noted that all the previously withdrawn pieces of military hardware and weapons were in place and that the DPR had not made any violations regarding the withdrawal. "We have sent a letter to the OSCE saying that information submitted by the OSCE monitors is not always true and accurate. We are calling for an internal investigation," Basurin added.

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 (MRLS) to the distance of 70 km and most powerful Tornado-S, Uragan and Smerch MRLS, as well as tactical missile systems Tochka/Tochka U to the distance of 140 km.

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  Donetsk and Luhansk republics, 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 and is to be over by November 10. The process will be monitored by the Joint Centre for Coordinate and Control (JCCC).

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