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Trilateral contact group signs separation of forces deal for Donbas

The OSCE will monitor the observance of the deal.

The trilateral contact group on a Donbas settlement in Minsk has signed a Framework Decision on Disengagement of Forces in three sections of the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine providing specific coordinates for their relocation, UNIAN has quoted Darka Olifer, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s envoy to the group, former president of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, as saying.

Olifer noted that Ukraine had been consistently fulfilling its commitments within the framework of the Minsk agreements, strictly adhering to the ceasefire introduced earlier. "To continue the process, the Ukrainian side signed this framework decision in order to ensure the implementation of the Minsk agreements by the representatives of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions [occupied territories]," reads the report. Olifer has told that the document suggests de-escalation along the contact line and actually creates the conditions in which small arms cannot be used for attacks.

At the same time, the framework decision provides for full implementation of the previous agreements of the trilateral contact group regarding the withdrawal from the contact line of artillery with caliber under 100 mm. Also in accordance with the framework decision on the separation of forces and weapons, the OSCE SMM "on a regular basis monitors and verifies of the process of separation of forces and weapons in the areas agreed." "It should be noted that the separation is planned only at three sections with clearly-defined coordinates At the same time, the Ukrainian side believes that in the course of implementation of the framework decision, the approaches can be worked out to a possible separation of forces and weapons along the whole contact line," she wrote.

In addition, Olifer stressed that in drafting the document, the Ukrainian side had completely eliminated the attempts to free interpretation of parameters and status of the contact line, as the text of the framework decision stipulates that this document was adopted in continuation of the protocol dated 5 September 2014, a memorandum of 19 September 2014 , and a package of measures to implement the Minsk agreement of 12 February 2015.

From the Ukrainian side, the framework decision was signed by Leonid Kuchma, from the OSCE - by Martin Sajdik, and from Russia – by Boris Gryzlov. According to Sajdik, the three sections are the settlement of Stanytsya Luhanska and the towns of Petrivske and Zolote.