Pro-Russians in Ukraine's Lugansk start pulling back tanks
Iran Press TV
Sat Oct 3, 2015 10:1AM
Po-Russia forces operating in Ukraine's eastern region of Lugansk say they have begun pulling back tanks from the frontline with government troops.
The self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) "has begun a withdrawal of tanks from the line of contact in accordance with" the peace deal signed between the two sides in Minsk, Belarus, in February, the official news agency of Lugansk reported on Saturday.
The move came less than a week after representatives of Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which monitors the truce in Ukraine, reached an agreement to extend a pullback of weapons in the eastern regions to include tanks and weapons of less than 100-millimeter caliber.
The agreement, which is expected to take over 40 days to be implemented, would see both parties' mortar shells and rockets moved 15 kilometers (nine miles) away from the frontline.
The deal supplements the broad February pact, dubbed Minsk II, under which Ukraine's warring sides agreed to a ceasefire, the pullout of heavy weapons, and constitutional reforms in the country by the end of the year.
On Friday, leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany met in the French capital city of Paris in an attempt to bring an end to the conflict gripping eastern Ukraine.
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko told reporters following the meeting that "all technical issues including coordination with the OSCE have been completed" regarding the arms withdrawal process.
Ukraine eastern provinces have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations in April last year 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.
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