VIENNA (Sputnik) – Chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Ivica Dacic has endorsed a statement issued by Chief Monitor Ertugrul Apakan, which calls on the organization's Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in Ukraine to provide detailed information on heavy weaponry withdrawal from the southeast (Donbas).
"Dačić took note of the reports of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine on the movement of heavy weapons, and endorsed the statement made earlier by the SMM's Chief Monitor, Ambassador Apakan, reiterating that for effective and credible verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons as provided for in the [Minsk] Package of Measures to occur, the SMM needs to obtain baseline information from all the signatories on what heavy weapons they have, planned withdrawal routes, and collection and storage sites," the OSCE said in a statement Wednesday.
Kiev forces and independence fighters were both given two weeks to pull their heavy weaponry out of striking distance under the new ceasefire deal, which was signed in the Belarusian capital, Minsk, on February 12, following 16-hour talks between the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France.
The ceasefire came into force on February 15, and the withdrawal was to begin the next day. and was to last no longer than 14 days. The OSCE has been tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Minsk agreements, including the pullout of heavy weapons.
On Wednesday, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), which began withdrawing heavy arms from the Donbas frontline on Tuesday, reiterated its call for the OSCE to monitor the pullout.
DPR Deputy Commander Eduard Basurin has promised to provide the organization with safety guarantees and stressed on Wednesday that it had sent a list of heavy artillery to be pulled back by DPR militia as well as the routes to be used for the removal to the OSCE.
Meanwhile Apakan claimed on Wednesday that the OSCE had not received the lists from either Donbas militia or the Kiev forces.