LUGANSK, January 28. /TASS/. The Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) openly deploy military vehicles, not covered by the withdrawal agreement, in residential areas in Donbass, says Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) People’s Militia head Yan Leschenko told TASS Friday.
"Combat vehicles, not covered by the withdrawal agreement, are being openly deployed in residential areas of settlements, and are used for harassing fire on People’s Militia positions and settlements of the republic," he said. "In the situation of the minimal distance between positions, a BMP weapon can cause just as much damage, as mortars and artillery systems," Leschenko explained.
He noted that the residents of areas being regularly shelled by the UAF are well aware of that.
"We regularly register the presence of Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Joint Forces Operation area outside the withdrawal area. This is being regularly reported in OSCE reports and Joint Ceasefire Coordination and Control Center (JCCC) announcements and People’s Militia briefings," Leschenko said.
According to the official, the Ukrainian forces use weapons that were not withdrawn in violation of the Minsk Agreements.
"During the New Year holidays, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission noted the absence of 15 self-propelled howitzers on the territory under Ukrainian control," Leschenko said. "These are two artillery batteries that disappeared without a trace, were distributed and concealed inside the safety zone," he underscored.
Leschenko noted that OSCE SMM patrols check the withdrawal areas and vehicle and weapon storage areas. According to the officials, in those rare cases when Ukraine actually allows the observers to go there and when Ukrainian electronic warfare units do not suppress the OSCE drones, the mission’s reports confirm that the UAF vehicles are absent from storage areas.
The official added that daily reports on the situation at the contact line regularly mention mortar and artillery above 100-mm caliber being fired, despite that they were supposed to be withdrawn over 50 km away from the line.
"An implementation of obligation is supposed to rule out the very possibility of firing these weapons at the territory of the republics," Leschenko underscored.