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Ukrainian troops deploy 1,000 artillery units in Donbass - DPR defence ministry

Ukraine's troops have deployed about 1,000 artillery units and multiple launch rockets systems, as well as more than 45,000 soldiers and about 3,500 other weapons in Donbass, Eduard Basurin, a spokesman for the defence ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) said on Sunday.

"The number of Ukrainian troops concentrated along the line of engagement in Donbass is comparable to that of last spring before the offensive operation: more than 45,000 soldiers, about 3,500 various weapins, including about 1,000 artillery units and multiple launch rocket systems," he told a briefing.

Earlier, DPR's defence ministry said the Ukrainian military were concentrating GRAD multiple rocket launcher systems near Konstantinovka located 55 kilometers away from Donetsk.

"The reconnaissance troops of the Donetsk People's Republic have registered concentration of heavy weapons in the outskirts of Konstantinovka to where Grad multiple rocket launcher systems are being secretly redeployed," Basurin said. "All of [Ukrainian President Pyotr] Poroshenko's statements about his commitment to peace, as a matter of fact, are meant to disguise military preparations."

The DPR's Defense Ministry emphasized that the re-deployment of military hardware and Ukrainian army personnel to the disengagement line is evidence that Ukraine is building up its offensive group.

The Minsk accords were signed on February 12, 2015 after 14-hour negotiations between the leaders of Normandy Four (Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko) in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk. Concurrently, Minsk hosted a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukrainian settlement.

A 13-point Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk agreements in particular included an agreement on cessation of fire from February 15, withdrawal of heavy armaments, as well as measures on long-term political settlement of the situation in Ukraine, including establishment of working subgroups as priority tasks.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 24May15]

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