EU calls for immediate withdrawal of heavy arms in Ukraine

The European Union on Tuesday called for the immediate pull-back of heavy weapons from the frontline in eastern Ukraine and voiced concern about the surge in fighting in a key flashpoint town.

AFP| Updated: Feb 17, 2015, 19:23 PM IST

Brussels: The European Union on Tuesday called for the immediate pull-back of heavy weapons from the frontline in eastern Ukraine and voiced concern about the surge in fighting in a key flashpoint town.

"We recall once again the need for all sides to adhere strictly to the provisions of the package signed last week and carry out its measures without delay," European Commission spokeswoman Catherine Ray told a press briefing.

Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels have "to stop any military operation and to start the withdrawing today of heavy weaponry", she said, referring to a key provision of the shaky truce signed last week.

"We remain concerned about the continued fighting in and around Debaltseve," Ray said after street battles erupted for the first time in the besieged eastern Ukrainian town.

The EU also voiced concern that the work of monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) was being hindered after observers were refused access to Debaltseve.