Ukraine has agreed to begin disengagement of forces near the settlement of Petrovskoye south of Donetsk at three on Monday, as was suggested by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).
“It has become known that the Ukrainian command has agreed to begin disengagement of forces near Petrovskoye today at 15:00,” the Donetsk News Agency quoted a spokesman for the DPR defense ministry as saying. “There were no objections either from the JCCC [Joint Center for Control and Coordination] or the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe].”
The DPR’s forces are ready for the process of disengagement and the beginning of the process depends on Ukraine, the spokesman stressed.
A spokesman for the DPR’s operations command said earlier on Monday that during today’s videoconference with deputy chief of the OSCE SMM (Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine) Alexander Hug which was attended by representatives in the JCCC, the DPR command offered the Ukrainian side to begin disengagement of forces near the settlement of Petrovskoye at three in the afternoon.
Initially, it was planned to begin disengagement of forces and weapons in Donbass on October 1 but the operation was postponed as the Ukrainian command had failed to kick off the procedure.
On September 21, the Trilateral Contact Group on the settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine reached a framework agreement on disengagement of forces in Donbass. It took three months to agree this document. Stage one is to create security zones at three sections of the line of contact, namely near Zolotoye, Petrovskoye and Stanitsa Luganskaya.
The agreement envisages withdrawal of armed forces from the line of contact to create security zones at least two kilometers wide and two kilometers deep. The entire disengagement process, including preparatory measures, is to take not more than 30 days for each of the sections. The document is also applicable to other sections that might be agreed by the parties in further consultations.
The Package of Measures to fulfil the September 2014 Minsk agreements, known as Minsk-2, that was signed in Minsk on February 12, 2015, envisaged a ceasefire regime between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) starting from February 15, 2015 and a subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.