Ukraine, separatists begin planned troop withdrawal in eastern region: witness

Members of the Ukrainian armed forces stand guard near a car of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in the settlement of Bohdanivka, which is located in a disengagement area near the contact line with Russian-backed separatist rebels, in Donetsk Region, Ukraine November 8, 2019. REUTERS/Oleksandr Klymenko

PETRIVSKE, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed rebels began a planned withdrawal of troops and weaponry from a village in the eastern Donbass region on Saturday, a Reuters witness at the scene said.

The troop pullback in the village of Petrivske is one of a series of confidence-building measures that could pave the way for a four-way summit between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany aimed at ending the simmering Donbass conflict.

Fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed fighters has killed more than 13,000 since 2014, with both sides accused each other of violating a ceasefire that was agreed in the Belarus capital Minsk in 2015.

The Kiev government has said the withdrawal in the village of Petrivske would mean that Ukraine has fulfilled all necessary conditions from its side for peace summit to take place.

Writing by Matthias Williams; Editing by Edmund Blair


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