KIEV, October 18. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko does not expect any tangible progress in resolving the situation in the east of the country at the upcoming meeting of the Normandy Four leaders in Berlin.
"I am quite optimistic about Ukraine’s future, but not very optimistic about tomorrow’s meeting (in Berlin)," he told a joint news conference with Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, in Oslo.
Poroshenko also noted that "there are no internal problems" in Ukraine. "The only thing we need is free local elections in Donbass, which will conform to OSCE standards," he said.
The Ukrainian president added though that it is impossible to hold these elections "as long as there are foreign troops there."
Ukraine has pulled six combat helicopters and 40 tanks to the line of engagement in Donbass, Eduard Basurin, a spokesman for the operations command of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic said on Tuesday.
"Six combat helicopters have been observed to arrive in Kramatorsk (43 kilometers off the contact line)," the Donetsk News Agency quoted him as saying.
Apart from that, in his words, the Ukrainian military have taken the territory of a children’s camp in the village of Galitsinovka located 18 kilometers away from the line of engagement and deployed 30 tanks there. Ten more tanks were observed near Volnovakha.
He also cited reconnaissance data that three sniper groups are deployed in the village Zamozhnoye. "Six 122mm howitzers were observed in Talakovka near Mariupol, five kilometers off the contact line," Basurin said.
"During the past day, a total of 253 ceasefire violations by Ukrainian troops, including 218 with the use of weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements, were reported," DPR spokesman added. .
On October 15, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko handed over 141 units of Ukrainian-made military hardware to the national armed forces to reinforce the group deployed in the area of the force operation in Donbass.
The Contact Group signed the key package of measures for peaceful settlement in Donbass, known as Minsk-2, on February 12, 2015. 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 kilometers, multiple rocket launcher systems (MLRS) to the distance of 70 kilometers and most powerful Tornado-S, Uragan and Smerch MLRS, as well as tactical missile systems Tochka/Tochka U to the distance of 140 kilometers. In late September 2015, a supplement to the Minsk-2 package was signed withdraw weapons under 100mm caliber to a distance of 15 kilometers from the line of engagement.