All heavy weapons removed from separation line: Ukraine
Ukrainian government forces have finished removing all their heavy weaponry from the line separating them and pro-Russian separatist militias in eastern Ukraine, Efe news agency reported on Tuesday citing Anatoly Stelmakh, the Kiev military spokesmen.
Kiev: Ukrainian government forces have finished removing all their heavy weaponry from the line separating them and pro-Russian separatist militias in eastern Ukraine, Efe news agency reported on Tuesday citing Anatoly Stelmakh, the Kiev military spokesmen.
"We have pulled out all heavy weapons," television channel Ukraine 112 quoted Stelmakh as saying.
Conversely, the spokesman for the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, Andriy Lysenko, said on Monday that Kiev`s forces would not fully pull their heavy weapons from the separation line until the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) assured that the rebel separatists have also pulled their heavy weapons from the area.
Despite the separatist claims that they have indeed withdrawn all their heavy weapons at the beginning of March, Kiev continues to accuse them of regrouping their military equipment in different locations along the frontline, especially near Mariupol.
In turn, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed on television on Monday that the pro-Russian militias have withdrawn a large part of their heavy weaponry.
There are no heavy weapons along 485 km of the dividing line, with the exception of Pesky and Avdiivka, near the disputed Donetsk airport, Poroshenko confirmed.
The president added that the total number of Ukrainian soldiers killed in the dispute in east Ukraine since it began last April has reached 1,549.
The withdrawal of heavy weapons from the frontline in eastern Ukraine is a requirement according to the second article of the Minsk agreement, signed on February 12.
According to the agreement, the ceasefire should be followed by pulling heavy weapons to a minimum distance of 50 km away from either side of the separation line.
Despite the constant recriminations between Ukraine and the pro-Russian militias concerning breaching the truce, combat operations have scaled back to the lowest level of engagement, and the situation is gradually returning to normal in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine.
More than 6,000 people have been killed in east Ukraine since the beginning of the armed conflict between Kiev forces and the pro-Russian separatists, according to the latest UN report.