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    Independence supporter of self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic army sits on top of an armoured personnel carrier in the village of Nikishine, south east of Debaltseve February 17, 2015

    Donetsk Begins Withdrawal Of Heavy Artillery in Line With Minsk Agreement

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    After Minsk: Will Peace Come to Ukraine? (1049)
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    Independence supporters from the eastern Ukrainian self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic has begun withdrawing its heavy artillery from the frontline.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) The militia from the eastern Ukrainian self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic has begun withdrawing its heavy artillery from the frontline, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported Wednesday.

    The withdrawal of heavy artillery is being conducted by sectors, meaning that it is being pulled back only in areas where the ceasefire is being observed by both the republic and Kiev’s forces.

    Heavy artillery is currently being withdrawn from the DPR's southern regions, the correspondent said.

    The Donetsk republic's Defense Ministry said earlier in the day the pullout was conducted in accordance with the Minsk agreements, as reported by Donetsk News Agency.

    "The armed forces of the Donetsk People's Republic have begun the withdrawal of heavy artillery systems from the frontline in accordance with the Minsk agreement dated September 19, 2014," the agency said.

    The Minsk accords, agreed upon in Belarus last week, outlined measures that are to be taken to bring peace to Ukraine.

    The warring parties were to start pulling out their heavy weapons to create two buffer zones 50-140 kilometers (30-85 miles) wide no later than the second day after the ceasefire. The truce came into force at midnight (00:00 Kiev time, February 15).

    However, on Monday the weapons were still pounding positions of militia and government troops, with both sides accusing the other of violating the truce.

    This prompted the UN Security Council to endorse a Russia-drafted resolution on Tuesday night that urged the rivals in eastern Ukraine to respect their agreements.

    Speaking in Hungary on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the Ukrainian government and militias to abide by the Minsk ceasefire deal, adding that the sooner hostilities stopped and weapons were withdrawn, the sooner the conflict would be settled.

    After Minsk: Will Peace Come to Ukraine? (1049)


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