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Donetsk, Kiev May Discuss Rolling Back Big Guns Amid Fragile Ceasefire

© AFP 2021 / ANATOLII STEPANOV Ukrainian servicemen patrol with a self-propelled artillery gun on the road between Artemivsk and Debaltseve, in the region of Donetsk, on February 15, 2015
Ukrainian servicemen patrol with a self-propelled artillery gun on the road between Artemivsk and Debaltseve, in the region of Donetsk, on February 15, 2015 - Sputnik International
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According to Donetsk People’s Republic parliament speaker, DPR and Kiev may discuss the ceasefire regime during a scheduled video conference later on Tuesday.

Members of the Ukrainian armed forces ride on armoured personnel carriers (APC) near Debaltseve, eastern Ukraine, February 12, 2015 - Sputnik International
Ukraine Not Yet Prepared to Withdraw Heavy Artillery - Kiev Spokesman
DONETSK (Sputnik) – The pulling back of heavy artillery in eastern Ukraine could be discussed during a video conference scheduled later on Tuesday between Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, DPR parliament speaker Andrei Purgin said.

“Yes, [the video conference] is being prepared, but I don’t know when it will happen,” Purgin told RIA Novosti.

Purgin said the DPR hopes to discuss a wide range of issues, including the ceasefire regime.

“Everything that’s happening is planned for discussion: how many times the ceasefire regime was breached over the last 24 hours, and possibly some humanitarian issues,” Purgin said.

He said that Ukraine has blockaded the transportation of cargoes, including food, in and out of the DPR.

Members of the Ukrainian armed forces ride on a military vehicle near Artemivsk, eastern Ukraine February 14, 2015 - Sputnik International
Kiev Amasses Heavy Artillery Near Artemivsk, Mironivske, Luhanske
“It’s obvious that we’ll discuss how the ceasefire is going and if we can or can’t start pulling back heavy artillery,” he added.

Ceasefire, enforced last Sunday, and the weaponry withdrawal in conflict-torn eastern region of Ukraine are stipulated by the deal on regulating the crisis in the country. The deal was agreed last week by the leaders of Russia, Germany, Ukraine and France in the Belarusian capital of Minsk and signed by the Contact Group, which includes representatives from Kiev, the self-proclaimed people's republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, Moscow and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Earlier on Tuesday, Kiev said that there was not a single shot fired last night in the Luhansk People’s Republic, adding that there was a "prerequisite for pulling back artillery."

In this Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015 photo members of the armed forces of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic sit on top a tank at the check-point north of Luhansk, Eastern Ukraine - Sputnik International
Not a Single Shot: Kiev Reports Complete Ceasefire in Luhansk
A spokesman for the Ukrainian military said Monday that the troops were not ready to pull back weapons due to continuing hostilities, but had prepared areas for the withdrawal for when the withdrawal occurs. Meanwhile, a senior DPR commander said that Donetsk was ready to withdraw weapons if truce was observed.

The issue of weaponry withdrawal could reportedly be discussed at a next Contact Group meeting.

The ceasefire came into force on Sunday, February 15, at midnight Kiev time (February 14, 22:00 GMT).

Later in the day, the head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine announced that the truce was generally holding.

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