Ukraine starts second phase of heavy weapons withdrawal   2015-03-05 02:10:21

KIEV, March 4 (Xinhua) -- The Ukrainian armed forces on Wednesday began the second phase of pulling back their heavy weapons from the frontline in eastern regions, the press service for the government's military operation said.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the press service said that a relocation of Akatsiya 152 millimeter caliber howitzers is already underway.

During the second stage of withdrawal, government forces should pull 152 millimeter caliber weapons back 70 kilometers from the contact line to create a buffer zone.

Earlier in the day, a government military spokesman Anatoliy Stelmakh said that the Ukrainian army has completed the first phase of heavy weapons pullout, withdrawing 100 millimeter caliber artillery from the boundary line.

On Sunday, pro-independence insurgents said that they had withdrawn all heavy weapons, except Grad rocket launchers, from the frontlines in Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

The government and the rebel forces have begun pulling back heavy weapons from the combat area last week as part of a peace plan agreed in Minsk, capital of Belarus, on Feb. 12.

The truce agreement, which includes a ceasefire regime, has helped to calm down the fighting across eastern Ukraine, raising hopes for an end of the almost 11-month-old conflict that has killed more than 6,000 people.


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Editor: Lu Hui
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