Better Late Than Never: Kiev Withdraws All Heavy Arms in Donbas - Minister
14:29 18.03.2015(updated 15:25 18.03.2015)
Kiev claimed to have pulled back all heavy artillery from the line of contact in Donbas according to the Minsk agreements. However, Ukraine plans to reinforce its military to 250,000 servicemen through mobilization within the month.
KIEV (Sputnik) – Kiev has withdrawn all of its heavy artillery from the line of contact in eastern Ukraine in accordance to the Minsk agreements, Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said Wednesday.
Last month, Kiev and eastern Ukraine's independence supporters signed a ceasefire deal in the Belarusian capital Minsk. The agreement obliged the sides to pull out heavy artillery from the front lines by March 1st.
"All of the obligations set upon the armed forces have been completed, all of the equipment and weapons outlined in the Minsk agreements have been withdrawn," Poltorak told journalists in Kiev.
Poltorak also said that the military would be reinforced to 250,000 servicemen through mobilization within the month.
"I think that we're talking a month," Poltorak said in regard to Ukraine's plans to meet the country's demand of building troop numbers in 2015 through a number of mobilizations.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed the full withdrawal of heavy artillery by Kiev forces, and expressed readiness to administer humanitarian aid in the embattled region.
Meanwhile, southeast Ukraine's self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk had reported the full pullout of heavy weapons in late February, in compliance with the Minsk accord deadline.
As a critical part of the agreement that includes a ceasefire deal, prisoner exchanges and granting special status to southeast Ukrainian regions, the sides have committed to pull back over 100-mm caliber weaponry to form security zones along the contact line.
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