15:29 GMT20 October 2020
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    Ukrainian volunteer battalions have reportedly refused to leave the village of Shirokino in eastern Ukraine, which had been declared a demilitarized zone.

    Representatives of Ukrainian volunteer battalions have expressed disagreement with the demilitarization of the village of Shirokino in eastern Ukraine, saying that they will not withdraw from the area, according to a daily report by the Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). 

    The report also referred to the Right Sector, a radical Ukrainian political movement, citing its unwillingness to comply with a possible governmental order to pull out of Shirokino.

    For their part, representatives of the National Guard Donbas volunteer battalion said that they had not received orders to withdraw, according to the report.

    On July 1, the authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic unilaterally declared a demilitarized zone.

    Denis Pushilin, chairman of the republic's Supreme Council Presidium, said that the decision on the demilitarization of Shirokino had been made by the republic's authorities "as an act of goodwill and a demonstration of peaceful intentions."

    The demilitarization plan stipulates that the conflicting parties withdraw their troops to a distance of 2.5 kilometers from the front line; tanks with 100mm guns as well as 85mm mortars should move back to a distance of 15 kilometers, under the plan.

    Kiev was quick to describe the Donetsk People's Republic's decision to demilitarize Shirokino as an attempt to cover their retreat.

    Deputy Chief Monitor of OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Alexander Hug speaks with journalists
    © Sputnik / Igor Maslov
    Deputy Chief Monitor of OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Alexander Hug speaks with journalists

    During their visit to Shirokino on July 4, OSCE observers specifically noted the absence of pro-independence supporters and local residents in the village. Alexander Hug, deputy head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, said that all of the fortifications, checkpoints and private houses have been abandoned, and that the village has been 80 percent destroyed.

    Located between the towns of Mariupol and Novoazovsk, Shorokino has become one of the hottest spots in the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine's Donbass region in the past few months.

    Fighting in Shirokino showed no sign of abating, even after the Normandy Quartet of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France in February signed an agreement on the settlement of the situation in the Donbass region, which specifically envisages a ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the front line.

    Related:

    OSCE Hopes for Demilitarization of Shirokino in Eastern Ukraine
    Ukrainian Azov Battalion Fighter Injured by Shelling in Shirokino
    Kiev Forces Dig Heels on Shirokino Withdrawal
    Ukraine Donbas Battalion Moves in to Reinforce Shirokino – Commander
    Tags:
    demilitarization, order, disagreement, movement, report, volunteer battalions, OSCE, Right Sector, Alexander Hug, Ukraine
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