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Kiev, pro-Russians agree to truce in Lugansk

 
 
 
 
 
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This file photo shows an apartment building destroyed by fighting in the Lugansk city of Lysychansk.

Ukraine and pro-Russians have “agreed in principle” on a truce in the country’s volatile eastern region of Lugansk, that will come into force on December 5, the pan-European security watchdog says.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) made the announcement in a statement released late Monday.

According to the statement, Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian forces will begin a complete ceasefire in the breakaway region on December 5.

The OSCE also said the two sides would start to withdraw their heavy weaponry a day after the truce comes into effect.

The announcement comes after Ukraine’s military said its troops and pro-Russian forces had agreed on a temporary ceasefire around an airport in the country’s other breakaway region, Donetsk.

Deputy Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Andrei Purgin has confirmed that talks were being held, but said a final agreement was not expected to be reached before Tuesday.

The Kiev government and pro-Russians signed a truce in the Belarusian capital of Minsk in early September. However, fighting has continued on a daily basis.

Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence the pro-Moscow protests in mid-April.

According to the United Nations, more than 4,300 people have been killed in the fighting. In addition, nearly a million people have been forced to flee their homes.

Kiev and its Western allies accuse neighboring Russia of having a hand in the chaotic situation in eastern Ukraine, but the Kremlin has repeatedly denied the allegation as baseless.

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