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Iran Press TV

OSCE welcomes Ukraine's weapons withdrawal agreement

Iran Press TV

Wed Sep 30, 2015 10:56AM

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has welcomed the agreement reached between Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk on the withdrawal of weapons from the front line of their conflict in eastern Ukraine.

"Today's agreement is a good sign of the will of all to continue the peace process, which is the only way towards the goal I believe we all share – return to peace," OSCE Chairman Ivica Dacic said on Tuesday, adding, "It shall also provide an additional boost to strengthening the ceasefire, which has been holding for almost a month."

Earlier on Tuesday, the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine (TCG), comprised of the representatives of the Ukrainian government, Russia, and pro-Russia forces in Ukraine's east reached the agreement under the auspices of the OSCE in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.

The deal calls for the withdrawal of weapons with calibers under 100 mm to a distance of 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the line of engagement.

Dacic also said the OSCE's Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine will follow up the implementation of the agreement, stressing that the mission should have access to all conflict-hit regions in eastern Ukraine.

Kiev and the pro-Russians had earlier agreed to withdraw weapons with calibers over 100 mm during February peace talks in Minsk. The warring sides, however, accuse each other of continuing to use heavy artillery.

The Donbass region in eastern Ukraine, comprising of the two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, has been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russians and the Ukrainian army since Kiev's military operation started in April 2014 in a bid to crush pro-Russia protests there.

The crisis has so far left some 8,000 people dead and 18,000 others injured, according to the United Nations (UN).

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