Donetsk, Jan 30 - DAN. Mounting tensions have been reported in the vicinity of Petrovskoye village south of Donetsk where the conflicting parties disengaged their forces and hardware in October 2016 in accordance with Contact Group decision.

"There has been an increase in the number of Ukrainian forces strikes at Petrovskoye area", head of DPR Mission to the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination Ruslan Yakubov told Donetsk News Agency on Tuesday.

“The situation in Petrovskoye stabilised to a considerable extent after the disengagement of forces and hardware; the number of ceasefire violations reached its minimum,” Yakubov said. “However, we note an escalation in the village area over the recent time.” “There’ve been more strikes at Petrovskoye outskirts.”

The DPR Mission to JCCC has been monitoring the village and its area since its establishment in April 2017. Over that period it repeatedly recorded violations and provocations by Ukrainian forces.

Yakubov said Ukrainian army units had advanced deeper into the “grey zone” in Petrovskoye area back in November 2017 which he said “certainly impacts the general Contact Line situation.” The appearance of new Ukrainian positions in the area is confirmed by OSCE UAV data published in the OSCE Mission’s report on 10 January 2018.

Meanwhile, the situation within the disengagement area itself measuring at least 2 kilometers wide and 2 kilometers deep in the vicinity of Petrovskoye is calm at present. DPR forces fully meet their ceasefire commitments, Yakubov said.

The Contact Group participants DPR, LPR, Ukraine, Russia and OSCE signed the framework agreement on disengagement of forces on 21-23 September 2016. The document spells out the procedure for withdrawing the conflicting parties’ units in three pilot areas: Petrovskoye (DPR), Stanitsa Luganskaya (LPR) and Zolotoye (LPR).

In Petrovskoye, disengagement took place on 7 October 2016; earlier, the sides had successfully withdrew their forces and hardware in Zolotoye (LPR). In Stanitsa Luganskaya disengagement was initially foiled by Ukraine. Despite Lugansk’s repeated attempts to implement the agreement, no compromise has been found up to date to resolve the issue. *jk