Kyiv, October 20, 2015. “The second stage of withdrawing tanks, artillery below 100mm and mortar launchers up to 120mm will start today. The weapons, as planned, will be withdrawn to a distance no less than 15 km from the frontline. The withdrawal will start in Debaltseve sector in the morning,” said ATO Staff spokesperson captain Leonid Matyukhin via Skype at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. Withdrawal of mortar launchers below 100 mm is being completed in sector A, the last five units were withdrawn near Shchastia under OSCE observation. “The Ukrainian side has fulfilled the plan of withdrawal completely,” added the spokesperson.
Nevertheless, there were militant provocations in the ATO zone on October 17. Militants shot at Ukrainian positions from small arms near Pisky at 4 p.m. ATO troops’ positions near Shyrokyne were attacked at 8 p.m. Two Ukrainian troops were wounded.
According to Captain Matyukhn, the ceasefire in the ATO zone in the previous days gave more possibilities to deliver humanitarian aid to local inhabitants. It also made repair works possible. Amy engineers removed eight grenade trip wires in Stanytsia Luhanska in one day. “All the grenades had no inhibitors, which means they would blast instantly,” said the ATO Staff spokesperson.
According to Captain Matyukhin, the social and economic situation keeps deteriorating in the territory of the self-proclaimed ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’. This results from a delay in allocating funds for pension support. Moreover, the territory temporarily occupied by the militants lacks funds to prepare social facilities (schools, hospitals, kindergartens) for the winter.