MOSCOW, November 23. /TASS/. The Ukrainian forces over the past day have 23 times violated the ceasefire regime in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in the southeast of Ukraine. Two DPR militia fighters were wounded, the DPR Defense Ministry reported on Monday.
"As many as 23 cases of violation of the ceasefire regime have been registered over the past 24 hours," the Donetsk news agency quoted a DPR defense official as saying.
According to the DPR Defense Ministry, the Ukrainian army shelled the Spartak, Novoselovka, Zhabichevo, Lozovoye settlements, as well as the Donetsk airport area. In addition, the Ukrainian forces shelled the areas of mine No 6/7 and Zaitsevo and Shirokaya Balka settlements in northwest of Gorlovka.
More than 100 mortar shells were fired on the DPR territory from the positions of Ukrainian army units and nationalist battalions. The Ukrainian troops used 82 mm and 120 mm calibre mortars, weapons of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers.
According to the agreement reached at peace talks in the Belarusian capital Minsk, a complete ceasefire was declared on the contact line in Ukraine’s south-eastern Donbas region starting from September 1, however, the Ukrainian forces have systematically violated it. In particular, they regularly shell the outskirts of Donetsk and Gorlovka. The DPR Defense Ministry said previously that the situation in the republic has recently worsened. The number of shelling attacks on the northern and western outskirts of Donetsk and on the city suburbs has dramatically increased over the past month.
The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising senior representatives from Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE on February 12, 2015, signed a 13-point Package of Measures to fulfill the September 2014 Minsk agreements. The package was agreed with the leaders of the Normandy Four, namely Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine.
The Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Luhansk starting from February 15 and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. 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.
On September 29, a supplement to the Package of Measures on Implementing the Minsk Agreements from 12 February 2015 was agreed at a meeting of the Contact Group on settlement the Ukrainian crisis, which was organized in Minsk. The supplement envisages withdrawal of tanks, artillery weapons of less than 100mm calibre, 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 calibre 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.
On October 2, leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine held talks in Paris in the so-called Normandy format. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the leaders discussed implementation of the Minsk Agreements, including withdrawal of armaments, elections, amnesty, gas issues and other crises, including air services. The Kremlin spokesman confirmed that the Minsk peace deal has no alternative.
On November 6, the Normandy Four foreign ministers agreed that humanitarian situation in Donbas is not improving, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after talks with his counterparts from Germany, France and Ukraine in the Normandy format.