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A Step Toward Peace? Poroshenko Calls for Agreement on 30-km Buffer Zone

© AP Photo / Sergei GritsSoldiers from the Ukrainian army ride on tanks in the port city of Mariupol, southeastern Ukraine
Soldiers from the Ukrainian army ride on tanks in the port city of Mariupol, southeastern Ukraine - Sputnik International
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Petro Poroshenko promised to "prevent the constant shelling". If Kiev manages to turn words into reality this time, it may pave the way toward peace in Donbass.

An armored column - Sputnik International
Donetsk Completes Removal of Weapons From Line of Contact
KIEV (Sputnik) — Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Wednesday he instructed Kiev representatives in the tripartite contact group aimed to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine to immediately sign an agreement on the establishment of a 30-kilometer buffer zone along the demarcation line.

"I have instructed the members of our tripartite contact group on Ukraine to immediately sign an agreement with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and with the Russian side, which is also a party to the tripartite agreement of the contact group, ensuring the creation of a 30-kilometer buffer zone along the line of demarcation… To withdraw weaponry that remains, to withdraw tanks, to remove mortars and to prevent the constant shelling," Poroshenko said during a working visit to Severodonetsk.

Poroshenko announced that heavy artillery will start being withdrawn in a few days in along the contact line in eastern Ukraine.

“Yesterday our diplomatic efforts were successful and last evening in Minsk our proposals were accepted and in a few days the time will start ticking for when heavy artillery will begin being withdrawn under the control of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and I’m really hoping this will happen,” Poroshenko said.

Local resident Nikolai, 82, inspects his apartment, which according to locals, was recently destroyed by shelling, in Donetsk - Sputnik International
Donbass to Remain in Ukraine, Residents Can Speak 2 Languages - Poroshenko
On Tuesday, the Contact Group, comprising representatives from Ukraine, the self-proclaimed people's republics of Donetsk and Luпansk, Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, reached an agreement on the procedures and schedule for the withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the contact line in contested areas of eastern Ukraine.

The following day, DPR militias announced that they had completed the removal of armored vehicles fitted with weapons with a caliber of 100mm or less from the line of contact.

Both the withdrawal of heavy weaponry and the creation of an 18-mile buffer zone are among the provisions laid down in the Minsk ceasefire deal signed by Kiev and Donbass independence supporters in February.

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