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7 Ukrainian servicemen killed in attempted offensive on DPR territory
Seven Ukrainian servicemen were killed in an attempted break through the line of engagement with the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), DPR defense ministry spokesman Eduard Basurin said on Monday.
He told the Donetsk News Agency that the Ukrainian side had lost two tanks, one armored infantry carrier, an anti-tank guided missile system. Seven Ukrainian servicemen had been killed and eleven more wounded, Basurin said.
He said the Ukrainian attempted offensive had been staged near the settlement of Belaya Kamenka on Monday morning. The offensive was preceded by intense tank, mortar and artillery shelling of the settlement of Petrovskoye, Novaya Laspa and Belaya Kamenka.
The DPR self-defense forces repelled the offensive forcing Ukrainian troops to retreat to their initial positions.
A peace deal struck on February 12 in Minsk, Belarus, by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and people's militias starting from February 15, followed by withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of military engagement and prisoner release. The package of measures envisages the pullback of all heavy weapons by both parties to locations equidistant from the disengagement line in order to create a security zone at least 50 kilometers wide for artillery systems with a calibre of 100 mm or more, a zone of security 70 kilometers wide for multiple rocket launchers and a zone 140 kilometres wide for multiple rocket launchers Tornado-S, Uragan and Smerch and the tactical rocket systems Tochka-U. The final document says that the Ukrainian troops are to be pulled back away from the current line of engagement and the militias of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, from the engagement line set by the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014.
The ceasefire however has been repeatedly violated.
On July 18, the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics (DPR and LPR) announced their plans to unilaterally withdraw heavy weaponry from the engagement line. By late July, said it had completed the withdrawal of weaponry of less than 100mm caliber from the contact line, leaving tanks only in "hot spots" to the north of Donetsk and in Debaltsevo. LPR also completed the withdrawal of weaponry from the contact line, leaving tanks and armored vehicles only on positions near the Schastye settlement.
On July 21, the Contact Group on Ukrainian settlement reached an agreement on phased withdrawal of weaponry of less than 100mm caliber by both sides. No final agreement however has been signed as of yet.
[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 10Aug15]
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