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Russian Diplomat: Not All Heavy Weaponry Withdrawn From Line of Contact in East Ukraine

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The Kiev government forces and eastern Ukrainian militia are yet to remove all their heavy weaponry from the line of contact, Russia's envoy to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Andrei Kelin said Friday.

Updated 12:23 p.m. Moscow Time

MOSCOW, September 26 (RIA Novosti) - The Kiev government forces and eastern Ukrainian militia are yet to remove all their heavy weaponry from the line of contact, Russia's envoy to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Andrei Kelin said Friday.

"It is clear that not all heavy weaponry was pulled back, but it is sure that shelling became less intense on both sides, including by Ukraine. It is two or three times less intense than prior to the signing of the Minsk memorandum," he said during a video linkup hosted by RIA Novosti.

The Kiev government and self-proclaimed people's republics of Donetsk and Luhansk have informed the OSCE that they were improving the Minsk memorandum's provision on withdrawal of heavy weaponry, Kelin said.

The diplomat said that the conflict sides "largely observe" the ceasefire deal.

"Albeit being fragile, the ceasefire is still very important. But without a political dialogue [between Kiev and militia], without the start of a peace process that would result in a constitutional settlement, we will achieve nothing," Kelin said.

The Kiev government and the pro-independence forces of southeastern Ukraine agreed on a ceasefire at the September 5 meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk. Another meeting of the group comprising delegations from Russia, Ukraine, the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics and the OSCE, held on September 19, resulted in the adoption of a nine-point memorandum, specifying the provisions of the ceasefire.

Since the ceasefire was established, the conflicting sides have repeatedly accused each other of the regime violation, although the OSCE said earlier this month the truce was generally holding.

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