Ukraine's defense ministry has released a statement saying they are withdrawing weapons from the front line of the conflict with pro-Russian rebels in the east of the country, in accordance with this month's Minsk cease-fire agreement.
The statement read:
Ukraine starts to withdraw 100 mm guns from the demarcation line to implement the Minsk agreements dd February 12. This first step will be realized under the OSCE monitoring and verification.
The Ukrainian party requires from all the signatories the complete ceasefire and accomplishment of Minsk agreements. In case of offensive attempts, the schedule of heavy weapons withdrawal will be corrected. The Ukrainian troops are ready to defend the state.
The military showed journalists seven or eight guns being removed from the frontline at the village of Paraskoviyka, and earlier reporters had seen a convoy of around 30–40 Ukrainian vehicles towing guns away, Reuters reported.
The move is the strongest step Ukraine has taken to acknowledging the cease-fire was holding, after losing the key town of Debaltseve at the hands of rebels who initially ignored the agreement, Reuters said.
The withdrawal of artillery marked point two of the cease-fire agreement, with the observance of the cease-fire being point one.
Francis Whittaker is a homepage editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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