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OSCE monitoring mission cannot confirm withdrawal of heavy weapons in Donbass

The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine is glad to record a lower number of violations of the ceasefire regime in Donbass but cannot yet confirm withdrawal of heavy weapons from the contact line, Spokesman of the Mission Michael Bociurkiw said.

He mentioned as a positive sign that this week they have recorded fewer violations than they did last week. “This is a good sign,” Bociurkiw said. On the other hand, Debaltsevo and Donetsk continue to be trouble spots. Bociurkiw said they could not confirm withdrawal of heavy weapons and noted that they needed additional information to be able to do that. He said they needed constant access to the areas where the parties would deploy their weapons so as to be able to confirm that the arms would not be taken back to the conflict zone.

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Russia’s Permanent Representative to the OSCE Andrey Kelin said that the OSCE was not aware if Ukraine was withdrawing its heavy weapons or not. “The observers cannot confirm any withdrawal on their part. They in Kiev say they are withdrawing their arms but they in the mission have no such information,” Kelin said.

As EAD reported earlier, the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics have said that they have withdrawn all of their heavy weapons from the contact line. This fact has been confirmed by the OSCE mission. The Kiev authorities say they are completing the withdrawal of 100-mm antitank cannons and the OSCE observers have confirmed this, but their reports say nothing about withdrawal of artillery-type weapons and rocket launchers.

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