Heavy weapons to return to previous locations if Minsk agreements are breached - Poroshenko

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the Ukrainian troops are ready to return heavy weapons to their previous locations in Donbass if the enemy violates the Minsk agreement

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said the Ukrainian troops are ready to return heavy weapons to their previous locations in Donbass if the enemy violates the Minsk agreement.

"Our military are ready to return the hardware to its previous locations at any time, at any moment and stand up to the enemy within the shortest period," Poroshenko said at a graduation ceremony in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's Chernyakhovsky National University on Friday.

"Even in the event of the best-case scenario in Donbass, even if there is a lasting ceasefire, which would evolve into a political settlement process and stable peace, regrettably, the military threat coming from the east stays relevant and will require constant efforts to bolster the state's defense potential," he told. 

Meanwhile militia forces have already pulled 250 heavy weapons back from the line of contact in the south-east of Ukraine, Eduard Basurin of the Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DNR) told reporters on Friday.

"We have already withdrawn 250 units of military hardware, while Ukraine has pulled back only 24 units. I am going to ask the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) to inform Ukraine that we are withdrawing weaponry," Eduard Basurin said.

An Interfax correspondent reported earlier that the DNR militia had already begun withdrawing four Grad multiple-launch rocket systems from the line of contact. Observers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Special Monitoring Mission are present at the site.

Basurin also said that militia forces intended to withdraw some 16 units of military hardware on Friday. "However, for now we will not withdraw hardware from sectors where there is a threat of armed clashes, in particular the area around the Donetsk airport. Around 20 instances of shelling have been registered there in the past 24 hours," he said.

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