Russian-Led Forces Violate Ceasefire in Donbas, Withdrawal of Troops Set for Oct.14
A roadmap for the removal of forces in the Donbas conflict zone was agreed to at the Trilateral Contact Group on Oct. 1
The mutual withdrawal of troops and military vehicles from the line separating Ukrainian troops and Russian-led forces has been postponed due to recent shelling from the occupied territory.
Ruslan Homchak, the chief of staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said the new date for the pull-back has been set for Oct. 14.
This is the settlement of Zolote-4 in the Luhansk region. Local residents in the morning gathered next to the House of Culture – demanding to know more about the disengagement of forces.
“For me, the armed forces means our security. For five-and-a-half years they were here with us and on the fighting positions. We know they’ll protect us. But now, the people here don’t know what to expect. So I’m against the withdrawal of forces,” Maryna, a resident of Zolote-4 said.
“We are against the withdrawal of forces. We’re used to them being here, so to speak, even though we have to listen to the gunfire every day. But still, with them here we’re confident that things will be alright. And now, when they’re gone… Who knows what happens,” another resident named Tetiana said.
Zolote 4 residents waited for President Volodymyr Zelensky – but instead of the president, representatives of the General Staff arrived – and informed them that the process had been postponed
“Right and left from where we’re standing — are the positions where our forces are to be withdrawn to. You’ve just heard the noise of the construction machinery working,” Head of the General Staff Armed Forces of Ukraine Ruslan Khomchak said.
Meanwhile, in Katherynovka, two kilometers from Zolote-4, the disengagement will have a bigger impact. One-hundred-twenty-two homes will find themselves in the buffer zone – where police will maintain the rule of law.
“We’ve added more patrols. Our presence here has doubled. More than 150 personnel are working in Popasna alone. Grave and medium crimes have all been solved. The crime rate is quite low over here. We estimate to have one police officer per 10 residents in Zolote, which is a lot more than you’ll find elsewhere in Ukraine,” Vadym Troyan, the deputy head of the Ukrainian National Police said.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystayko announced that the disengagement of troops from the villages of Petrivske and Zolote-4 would be postponed for a week.
“According to the decision on mutual withdrawal of forces, it was supposed to begin after seven days of the continuous ceasefire in the area. That’s why we are supposed to wait for a 7-day period without shelling attacks to occur. This should be proof of serious intention by the sides to undertake the withdrawal. The withdrawal envisages the pull-back of our personnel, but the fortifications remain in place. If we see that the other side is not complying with the agreement or even planning some aggressive actions, our forces will assume their prior positions,” Prystayko said.
The Ukrainian military said that they are ready for any developments.
“If they observe the ceasefire for seven days, and if we see that the other side is ready to withdraw forces, when we receive the order to pull back we’ll do so. But the other side, unfortunately, isn’t very eager to do it,” Roman, a Ukrainian soldier, said.
A roadmap for the separation of forces in the Donbas was agreed on at the Trilateral Contact Group on Oct. 1. The process should proceed in two stages: the first is the withdrawal of personnel from both sides and the second is the dismantling of engineering structures and the clearance of mines.