World / Europe

Ukraine starts heavy weapons withdrawal

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-02-27 09:18

Ukraine starts heavy weapons withdrawal

A convoy of Ukrainian armed forces including armoured personnel carriers, military vehicles and cannons prepare to move as they pull back from the Debaltseve region, in Paraskoviyvka, eastern Ukraine, February 26, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

KIEV -- The Ukrainian Defence Ministry said Thursday that the country's military forces are starting the withdrawal of their heavy weapons from the frontline in eastern regions, as agreed upon at the Minsk peace deal.

"Fulfilling the agreements reached in Minsk on Feb. 12, Ukraine today (Thursday) begins the withdrawal of 100 millimeter caliber artillery from the contact line," the ministry said in a statement on its website.

The pullout is conducted under the control of monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the statement said.

The decision to withdraw the weapons came after a ceasefire in eastern regions showed signs of taking hold in the previous two days.

According to Ukraine's military spokesman Andriy Lysenko, hostilities between the Ukrainian military and pro-independence insurgents ceased in most parts of eastern Ukraine.

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