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KIEV, March 4. /TASS/. Sappers of the emergencies ministry in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) are demining roads near to the water purification plant in Donetsk, the republic’s defense authorities said on Saturday.
"Right now, the DPR’s sapper group begins demining the road leading to the plant," the Donetsk News Agency quoted the defense authorities’ representative. "The process has begun from the Gospodar market towards the plant, and then the specialists will begin its demining."
The demining is observed by representatives of the Joint Coordination Center for Ceasefire Monitoring and the OSCE mission, the source said. The first joint inspection of the plant is planned for Saturday. The agency reported earlier, if the inspection goes smoothly, the plant may resume work on Saturday.
The Donetsk water purification plant may resume work on Saturday if the Donetsk-Kiev inspection goes smoothly, a source at the DPR military authority said on Saturday.
"Right now, at the plant there are representatives of the Joint Coordination Center for Ceasefire Monitoring, OSCE and the emergencies ministry, as well as representatives of the managing company," the Donetsk News Agency quoted the authority’s representative. "The Ukrainian side has not arrived yet. We all are waiting. If the inspection takes place, if everything goes smoothly, the plant will be launched."
On Thursday, representatives of the OSCE, Joint Center for Control and Coordination, Donbass Water company and emergencies agencies came to an agreement that on March 3 the DPR and Ukraine would conduct a joint inspection of the plant. Its territory was supposed to have been searched for explosive devises. Both parties to the conflict presented their guarantees of security. Nevertheless, the DPR defense agency said on Friday that Ukraine blocked the joint inspection.
The plant is located between Avdeyevka and Yasinovataya and supplies water to settlements on both sides of the contact line: Donetsk, Yasinovataya, Vassilyevka and Spartak under the control of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, as well as Avdeyevka, Krasnogorovka and Verkhnetoretskoye, controlled by Kiev troops. The plant has been repeatedly shelled during the conflict.
Overnight to February 24, Ukrainian troops heavily pounded the plant, which was hit eight times. The plant was stopped and the personnel evacuated. The DPR operational command said heavy weaponry had been used. The fire came from the positions of Kiev troops from the area of Avdeyevka.
On Wednesday, Martin Sajdik, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine, said following a Contact Group meeting in Minsk that the sides had agreed not to advance attacks in the area of the plant, demine roads near it and give safety guarantees to Special Monitoring Mission and OSCE representatives.
The situation along the line of contact in Donbass sharply deteriorated at the end of January. There have been casualties among civilians as a result of shelling by the Kiev troops, and also major damage has been caused to dwellings and infrastructure.