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Dec 2, 2014 4:30 AM

Ukraine government, rebels agree on new cease-fire

The Associated Press

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) Ukrainian government troops and Russian-backed separatist forces in the Luhansk region have agreed on a new cease-fire, international monitors said.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said that under the agreement, hostilities are to cease Friday along the line of contact between the warring sides.

It was agreed at negotiations that took place Saturday that heavy weapons will start being withdrawn from the front at the weekend, the OSCE said in its daily update report Monday evening.

Igor Plotnitsky, the head of the rebel movement in Luhansk, confirmed the cease-fire deal in remarks to Russia's Interfax news agency, but said no definitive agreement had been reached on the breadth of the demilitarized zone.

He told Interfax the distance could range between 15 and 20 kilometers (10 and 13 miles).

Cease-fire deals have been reached before in eastern Ukraine, only to be swiftly violated. A broad truce was agreed upon in early September after all-party talks in Belarus, but hundreds have been killed since then amid daily violations.

On Monday, a deal was reached to end fighting over the airport in the capital of the Donetsk region, but rocket barrages continued for hours in that area all the same.

There are concerns that any efforts to impose a cease-fire in the Luhansk region could be derailed by infighting among separatist forces.

Although rebel areas are nominally under the control of the self-styled Luhansk People's Republic, much of the territory is in fact presided over by Russian Cossacks, who have frequently demonstratively rejected Plotnitsky's authority.

There have been multiple unconfirmed media reports in recent days of fatal clashes between fighters of the Luhansk People's Republic and Cossack units.

The OSCE said in its report Monday, however, that the Luhansk People's Republic insists it is in control of all Cossack units.


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