Ukrainian army reports decline in ceasefire violations by militia

The militia operating in eastern Ukraine failed to observe the ceasefire in the past 24 hours yet the intensity of gunfire has reduced, the Ukrainian army said.

The militia operating in eastern Ukraine failed to observe the ceasefire in the past 24 hours yet the intensity of gunfire has reduced, the Ukrainian army said.

"The number of ceasefire violations by the militants has been markedly reducing for a second day in a row. Yet the enemy continues random attacks in particular populated areas," army operation spokesman Anatoliy Stelmakh told Interfax on Wednesday morning.

For instance, militia mortars shelled Popasna at about 11 p.m. on Tuesday and twice after midnight.

"There were no shelling incidents in the Mariupol, Donetsk and Lugansk sectors overnight," Stelmakh said.

At the same time, "a full truce did not begin yesterday," he said.

The militia conducted 15 attacks using mortars, artillery, light weapons and grenade launchers from 5 a.m. on February 24 till 5 a.m. on February 25.

"ATO forces repelled an attack of the hostiles in the Shyrokyne area at about 5 p.m. Besides, the militants continued aerial reconnaissance, and nine drone flights were recorded over the past day," he said.

"Despite provocations staged by the hostiles, the Ukrainian servicemen are holding their positions and observing the truce alongside the entire line of contact," Stelmakh said.

In its part, militia reported general observation of Donbas truce overnight.

"The situation in southeastern Ukraine did not change much overnight. The ceasefire was generally observed," a source in the military staff of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) said on Wednesday.

"The use of heavy weapons was not recorded," he said.

"Yet there were a number of armed provocations staged by Ukrainian servicemen. The militia did not return fire," the source noted. "The Novorossiya armed forces are pulling back heavy weapons from the line of contact according to the plan and thereby creating a security zone," he said.

"In addition, public utilities are being restored and mines are being cleared in liberated populated areas," he said.

Said Eduard Basurin of the Defense Ministry of the DNR, "We will continue the withdrawal of arms in four sectors, in the north and south of the of the contact line. We will be withdrawing artillery systems today but not as many as we pulled back yesterday. Less than 100 artillery units are planned to be withdrawn today."


OSCE mission to Ukraine: Conflicting parties must promptly provide info on heavy weapons withdrawal

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (OSCE SMM) expects the signatories to the Minsk agreements to provide information on the withdrawal of heavy weapons within the shortest possible time, the SMM reports with reference to the SMM chief monitor, Ertugrul Apakan.

"More than 10 days ago we wrote to the signatories to make clear what is needed from them if the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine is to fulfill the task given to the mission regarding monitoring and heavy weapons withdrawal. This includes: what heavy weapons they have; where these weapons are now, and which routes will be used to withdraw them; and where they will be located after they have been withdrawn," Apakan said in the statement.

"The parties concerned still have not provided this information, and they need to do so promptly," he said.

"The SMM has already been monitoring the movement of heavy weapons for five months, but there is a clear distinction between this activity, which we will continue - and being able to report that these weapons are indeed withdrawn, and safely and securely stored," he said.

"The SMM can monitor and verify this process in a credible manner. We look forward to being able to report that these weapons, which have caused such widespread devastation and displacement, have been indeed pulled back," he said.

The SMM had stated earlier it could not confirm that the conflicting parties had indeed pulled back their heavy weapons.


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