★ Disengagement begins in Petrovskoye area

Petrovskoye , Nov 9 – DAN. Both DPR and Ukraine have fired white and green signal flares in the Petrovskoye disengagement area to indicate the beginning of the elimination of violations of the disengagement agreements, DAN correspondent says.

“DPR Mission in the JCCC welcomes the beginning of the personnel and equipment withdrawal recorded by the OSCE SMM, 20 months after the SMM first recorded violations in the disengagement area No.3,” the DPR Mission said.

After the SMM confirms the withdrawal the next phase shall begin including mine clearance operation and de-installation of fortifications and other military infrastructure.

The disengagement of forces and hardware at all the pilot designated areas is one of the key conditions of the next Normandy Four meeting. Experts anticipate important decisions at the summit aiming at settling the five-year long civil conflict.

LPR and DPR representatives initialed a Framework Agreement on pullback of forces in Donbass on September 21-23, 2016, which was also signed by representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE. The document provides for three disengagement areas around Zolotoye, Stanitsa Luganskaya (LPR territory) and Petrovskoe (DPR territory). Security zones of at least zone two km wide and two km long are to be established in each sector.

The disengagement was completed in the Petrovskoye zone in October 2016 for the first time. Later Ukraine troops infiltrated back. Donetsk has been demanding to restore parity ever since.

The Contact Group endorsed a plan to eliminate violations in Petrovskoye (DPR) and Zolotoye (LPR) on October 1.

On November 1, the renewal of disengagement was completed in the Zolotoye area (LPR).

As for the Petrovskoye area the disengagement was planned for October 4, but Kiev derailed it.

The Framework Agreement is key to further bilateral withdrawal of forces from the contact line which could significantly contribute to the peaceful settlement in the region. *ot

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