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    Ukrainian Armoured Personnel Carriers move cannons from their position near eastern Ukrainian city of Artemivsk, in the Donetsk region

    Kiev Begins Heavy Arms Withdrawal, Always Ready to Return - Poroshenko

    © AFP 2019 / ANATOLII STEPANOV
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    After Minsk: Will Peace Come to Ukraine? (1049)
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    Kiev forces are moving back from the line of contact in Donbas, but they are ready to return if the ceasefire is violated.

    KIEV (Sputnik) — The Ukrainian forces have begun withdrawing artillery from the front line in the country's eastern regions, but they are ready to return it to its initial positions at any moment, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Friday.

    “Yesterday, in implementation of the Minsk agreements, we began the withdrawal of some heavy weaponry from the separation line in Donbas… This is the very beginning of the Minsk plan implementation that was reached during difficult talks in Minsk and which is so far being violated by the enemy. That’s why, at any time and moment, our troops are ready to return the equipment to the previous lines and to retaliate in the shortest possible terms," Poroshenko said.

    The president added that even with "the most positive scenario" of a longterm truce and political settlement, a military threat from the east "will remain current and require continuous efforts to strengthen the country's defense capability."

    An armed conflict broke out in Ukraine's southeast last April, after Kiev launched a military operation against the region's pro-independence movement.

    Poll

    What do you think is the most important event of the week?
    • The beginning of heavy weapons withdrawal in eastern Ukraine
      52.5% (509)
    • Military deal between Russia and Cyprus
      31.8% (309)
    • The approval of the Greek bailout extension
      8.3% (81)
    • The 87th Oscars Ceremony
      2.3% (22)
    • Madonna’s epic fall at Brit Awards
      5.1% (50)
    Voted: 971
    A ceasefire deal was signed between Kiev and eastern Ukrainian militia in September, during talks in Minsk, Belarus.

    The deal failed to put an end to the fighting, however, a new truce agreement was signed in mid-February, again in Minsk, after weeks of intensified clashes and heavy civilian losses.

    According to the Minsk agreements, the sides are to withdraw their heavy weaponry from the line of contact. On Thursday, Poroshenko gave an order to begin the pullback, while militia in Ukraine's eastern breakaway region of Donetsk said the same day it already had withdrawn 90 percent of its artillery.

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

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    Tags:
    Donbass, weaponry withdrawal, ceasefire, Ukrainian crisis, Ukrainian Armed Forces, Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine
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