Updated 02:53 p.m. Moscow Time
KIEV, October 13 (RIA Novosti) - The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) welcomes steps to de-escalate the tensions in eastern Ukraine, the head of the Organization's mission to the crisis-hit country said Monday.
The head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine Ertugrul Apakan said one third of the mission's members are observing how both sides comply with the ceasefire.
In the past weekend, the Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic Alexander Zakharchenko claimed the warring sides had agreed to introduce a "silence regime" in eastern Ukraine. The official added that after the "silence regime" holds for five days the withdrawal of artillery and heavy weapons will be underway.
On Sunday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko claimed that the OSCE had satisfied his request to increase the monitoring mission in the country's South-East to 1,500 personnel - a statement, later denied by the organization. The president also expressed hope that a complete ceasefire could be achieved in the next few days.
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine was deployed in late March following a request to the OSCE by Ukraine's government and a consensus agreement by all 57 OSCE participating nations. The monitors are to contribute to reducing tensions and fostering peace, stability and security in Ukraine.
A ceasefire deal between the Kiev government and pro-independence forces was reached on September 5 at a meeting of a Contact Group on Ukraine, comprising representatives for Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, Russia and the OSCE. However, both sides subsequently accused each other of violating the agreement.