The conflicting sides in eastern Ukraine have pulled back a larger part of their heavy weapons, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (OSCE SMM) said, noting that restrictions on monitoring activity still occur.
The sides have withdrawn a larger part of their heavy armaments but the monitors are unable to give a final confirmation due to the ongoing restrictions to their access, OSCE SMM Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug said at a press briefing on Thursday.
On the whole, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have not restricted the access of OSCE monitors to weapon storage sites, and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics should follow their example, he said.
There should be no excuse for denying the monitors access, Hug said.
OSCE SMM Chief Monitor Ertugrul Apakan is still waiting for a reply to the inquiry about the stock of heavy weapons of the conflicting sides and their weapon storage sites filed in February.
Hug said the monitors needed full access and would not automatically confirm arms withdrawal without verification data and full access to weapon storage sites.
The mission is currently employing 460 monitors from 42 countries in ten cities of Ukraine, including 350 in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
Over the past year as Russia and the West have faced off over whose integration project Ukraine will join, China has been preparing a third way forward.
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