10:57 May. 11, 2016
Monitors say military hardware must have been withdrawn from contact line
The so-called Victory Day military parades in the occupied territories in eastern Ukraine undermined the Minsk ceasefire deal. Under the terms of the agreement, the Russian-backed separatist forces must have withdrawn its weapons from the contact line.
Instead the militants concentrated around 45 units of military hardware, including tanks, Grad missile systems and armoured personnel carriers in Donetsk and Luhansk. These vehicles were paraded through the cities' streets as part of the Victory Day celebration.
"The Mission observed the presence of numerous weapons in violation of the respective withdrawal lines on 9 May military-style parades in Donetsk and Luhansk cities", OSCE monitors said in a report.
According to the statement, around 15 echelons of both armed and unarmed men and women took part in the "ceremony" in Donetsk. Approximately 2,000-3,000 civilians gathered in the main square to watch the "parade" (before the conflict approximately 1 mln people lived in the city). OSCE reported, some of the civilians "showed an offensive attitude of gestures" towards the monitors.
Earlier Ukrainian intel reported the so-called parades in the occupied territories were organised by a Kremlin's military regiment. According to Ukrainian intelligence services, officers from the Russian Presidential Regiment of the Moscow Kremlin Commandant's Service earlier arrived in the separatist-occupied Donetsk and Luhansk regions.