Ukrainians to withdraw heavy weapons after full ceasefire

Ukraine will start withdrawing its heavy weapons from the security zone in eastern Ukraine as soon as the pro-Russian separatist militias fully respect the agreed ceasefire, the Ukrainian military command announced Monday.

IANS| Last Updated: Feb 24, 2015, 00:07 AM IST
Ukrainians to withdraw heavy weapons after full ceasefire

Kiev: Ukraine will start withdrawing its heavy weapons from the security zone in eastern Ukraine as soon as the pro-Russian separatist militias fully respect the agreed ceasefire, the Ukrainian military command announced Monday.

"The first phase of the peace agreement is a complete ceasefire. As soon as the terrorists (pro-Russian rebels) stop attacking our positions, we will fulfill the second phase," Ukrainian military spokesman Anatoli Stelmak told a press conference.

"And now there is no full ceasefire," he added.

On Sunday, the spokesman for the rebel command in Donetsk, Eduard Basurin, announced that the pro-Russian militias would begin pulling their heavy weapons back from the security zone Monday morning.

Earlier Sunday, Ukraine accused the pro-Russians of launching an attack with tanks, artillery and mortars against the Ukrainian positions in Shirokino town, around 24 km from Mariupol city, the base of the regional government that is loyal to Kiev.

A spokesman for the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) acknowledged the attack and explained that half of Shirokino is controlled by militias and the other half by a government battalion of volunteers.

This took place after the separatists terminated hostilities in the DPR and ensured that the situation at the front was stable.

The second point of the peace agreement, which was signed Feb 12 in Belarus's capital Minsk, committed both sides to begin the withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the demilitarised zone within 48 hours after the truce.

Although the ceasefire came into effect Feb 15, the pro-Russians attacked in the following days and seized the strategic town of Debaltseve, which Kiev and Western countries considered as a violation of the ceasefire.