Ukraine to Start Removing Artillery from Donbass

Ukraine | December 26, 2014, Friday // 11:31|  views

Photo by EPA/BGNES.

Kiev authorities have announced large-caliber artillery is to be drawn away from the country's Donbass region starting after December 26, Friday.

This will serve the purpose of setting up a 30-km safety zone, according to Russian news agency TASS, which cites the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's press office.

Ukrainian authorities are now saying they will work toward upholding the Minsk agreement by ending fire on rebels they have been fighting for months.

Arms are to be laid down on Friday, with all 100-mm guns to be withdrawn afterwards.

Oleksandr Rozmanin, a spokesman for the Ukrianian army's Chief of Staff, has asserted that personnel of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are to monitor the process.

The OSCE has not yet officially commented on this but is poised to strengthen its Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine.

Currently numbering 300 people, the SMM could be boosted to include as many as 500 personnel.

Thousands of Ukrainians have lost their lives since the Donbass conflict began this spring with militants in the mostly Russian-populated Donetsk and Luhansk regions having seized control of most key local state institutions and having proclaimed "People's Republics".

After a fragile truce reached in Minsk in September that was violated by both sides, a new "day of silence" was agreed in December and was extended after both Kiev and rebels noted it had been a success.

The "Day of Silence" was in line with the Minsk Protocol, which also envisages the creation of a safety zone on each side of the frontline.


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Tags: Ukraine, Donbass, SMM, OSCE


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