Russia-backed separatist rebels' unit walk to take their position at the new line of contact outside Petrivske, Ukraine, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. The Saturday pullback in the Petrivske area follows two similar movements in eastern Ukraine, where Russia-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces have been fighting since 2014. The pullbacks are seen as a significant step that could lead to a summit of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany on ending the conflict. (AP Photo/Alexei Alexandrov)

Ukraine, rebels say pullback in the east is completed

November 11, 2019 - 11:37 am

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian and rebel officials say both sides have completed a pullback of troops and weapons from an area in eastern Ukraine embroiled in a separatist conflict that has killed more than 13,000 people.

The disengagement near Petrivske that began Saturday followed a similar withdrawal in another section of the frontline, where Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian forces have been fighting since 2014. Ukraine's military said Ukrainian forces completed the pullback in Petrivske at midday Monday.

The disengagement of forces in eastern Ukraine was seen as a key step to pave the way for a summit of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany on ending the conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuris Ushakov, said the summit could be held before the year's end but wouldn't comment on a possible date.

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