Ukraine and separatists forces have agreed to withdraw weapons and its personnel from a pedestrian bridge near Stanytsia Luhanska.
In accordance with a plan of Trilateral Contact Group, dated all the way to 2016, where both sides agreed to withdraw weapons and personnel if a ceasefire is respected for seven days in the pre-designed areas, both sides have begun to withdraw its forces. On June 26, under the supervision of OSCE delegation and the commander of Joint Forces Operation, Oleksandr Syrsky, elements of Armed Forces of Ukraine withdrew from the pedestrian bridge and abandoned the first line of defence in the area. According to the military, the new positions, which are located one kilometre away from the bridge, don’t provide a good overview of the area and puts Ukrainian Forces to disadvantage.
The separatist forces withdrew its personnel the next day. OSCE observers confirmed that the separatist not only withdrew from the pedestrian bridge but also from the nearby crossroad, which is just outside the agreed area. However, despite all the reports, Ukrainian TV “Channel 5” recorded personnel in military uniforms still stationed on the bridge. Neither OSCE nor Ukrainian Commander has decided to comment on this topic but judging from the blue helmet laying nearby, the person might be part of OSCE delegation.
If everything goes as planned, the next step is to continue with the withdrawn, position by position and in the end, Armed Forces of Ukraine would withdraw from Stanytsia Luhanska town itself. The National Guard and Special Police units will remain in the town to keep public order, the deal doesn’t apply units outside the structure of Armed Forces.
However, if the opposing side breaks the agreement, the Ukrainian Army is ready to return back to its original positions and use force if necessary.
sources: unian.info, 5.ua, tsn.ua