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    Situation in Ukraine After Ceasefire Agreement (450)
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    After December 26, the withdrawal of heavy artillery - 100-mm caliber and higher - will begin in order to create a 30-km security buffer zone, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's press service said.

    KIEV, December 25 (Sputnik) — The opposing sides in the Ukrainian conflict will begin on December 26 the withdrawal of heavy artillery from the separation line to create a 30-km (18.6 miles) security buffer zone as part of the ceasefire agreement, the Ukrainian military said Thursday.

    "We are working to ensure the strict implementation of the Minsk memorandum," the Defense Ministry's press service said citing Maj. Gen. Oleksandr Rozmaznin, Deputy Chief of the Main Command Center of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

    "The first stage is to observe the 'regime of silence.' After December 26, we will begin the next stage — the withdrawal of heavy artillery — 100-mm caliber and higher — to the agreed distances [from the separation line] in order to create a 30-km security buffer zone," Rozmaznin said.

    The withdrawal was brokered during last talks between the Contact Group on Ukraine reconciliation, which were held on Wednesday in Minsk. The agenda of the meeting also included prisoner swaps and the end of an "economic blockade" imposed by Kiev on self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics (LPR and DPR).

    On December 16 the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) reported that the Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics had started withdrawing large caliber weapons from the country's southeast. Ukraine's army claimed that it would start withdrawing heavy artillery from the line of contact only after the full cessation of hostilities.

    The LPR and DPR have been involved in an ongoing confrontation with Ukrainian government forces since April, when Kiev launched a military operation in the regions over their refusal to recognize Ukraine's new government after a coup in February.

    Situation in Ukraine After Ceasefire Agreement (450)


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