Ukraine agrees on withdrawal of heavy weaponry

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets with Pavlo Klimkin, Foreign Minister of Ukraine. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Ukraine has agreed on the need for the "urgent and immediate" withdrawal of heavy weaponry in the east of the country, according to the UN.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Foreign Affairs Minister of the eastern European nation, Pavlo Klimkin on Tuesday.

The accord is part of the Minsk ceasefire agreement signed by Government and the pro-Russian separatists on 12 February.

Jocelyne Sambira has the story.

Ban Ki-moon and Ukraine's Pavlo Klimkin agreed on the need to urgently and fully implement a "package of measures" adopted in Minsk to end the fighting.

The 13-point accord includes a lasting and durable cease-fire and immediate withdrawal of heavy weaponry.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), in charge of monitoring the truce in the eastern European country, echoes this view.

In a briefing to the Security Council, OSCE Chairperson, Serbia's Ivica Dačić said it was high time for peace to take hold.

"Ukraine is at a critical juncture. What is needed is full adherence to the cease-fire to allow for the implementation of the other elements of the package most notably, the withdrawal of heavy weaponry and equipment. The OSCE special monitoring mission is ready and willing to play its role to facilitate and supervise these crucial activities with the trilateral group."

OSCE has already deployed an observer mission at the Russian checkpoints in Gukovo and Donetsk on the Ukraine-Russia border.

Meanwhile, regarding the Government's request for a peacekeeping operation in eastern Ukraine, Mr Ban said the 15-member Council would guide the UN on the matter.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’29″

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