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Ukraine Not Yet Prepared to Withdraw Heavy Artillery - Kiev Spokesman

© REUTERS / Gleb Garanich Members of the Ukrainian armed forces ride on armoured personnel carriers (APC) near Debaltseve, eastern Ukraine, February 12, 2015
Members of the Ukrainian armed forces ride on armoured personnel carriers (APC) near Debaltseve, eastern Ukraine, February 12, 2015 - Sputnik International
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Ukraine forces are not prepared to pull back heavy artillery, though troops prepared areas and the corresponding work to withdraw heavy weapons and equipment, according to Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko.

Ukrainian government army soldiers - Sputnik International
Hostilities in East Ukraine’s Donbas Subside – Kiev Military Spokesman
KIEV, (Sputnik) – Kiev is not ready to withdraw its heavy artillery from the conflict zone in the eastern regions of the country but has prepared areas for when the withdrawal occurs, a representative from Kiev's special operations unit said Monday.

"The condition for pulling back heavy arms from the conflict area is the fulfillment of the first point in the Minsk agreements, that is a ceasefire," Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said during a briefing in Kiev.

The ceasefire between Ukraine's government troops and independence supporters came into force Sunday.

Lysenko said that there had been 112 occurrences of gunfire since the ceasefire came into effect, which "is not a sign of a ceasefire."

Members of the Ukrainian armed forces ride on a military vehicle near Artemivsk, eastern Ukraine February 14, 2015 - Sputnik International
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"Therefore, we are not prepared to pull back our heavy artillery, though we have prepared areas and the corresponding work to withdraw heavy weapons and equipment…but a ceasefire must be observed first," Lysenko said.

The ceasefire was agreed at the February 12 marathon talks in Minsk between the leaders of Ukraine, France, Germany and Russia. Under the deal, the warring sides must withdraw heavy artillery from the line of contact within two weeks.

On Sunday afternoon, the head of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine Ertugrul Apakan said that the truce was generally holding.

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