UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists have begun withdrawing their troops from a key sector on the front line in the east of the country in preparation for a peace summit, the Ukrainian military said on Saturday.
“The withdrawal of troops and weapons has begun,” said Ukrainian army official Bogdan Bondar.
The third phase of the withdrawal of troops from both sides was initially planned on Monday between the villages of Petrovskiy (separatist side) and Bogdanovka (under Ukraine’s control) in the Donetsk region, but was postponed until Friday due to gunfire in the separation sector.
Ukraine said it was ready to carry out the pull out on Friday, but the separatists demanded the process be postponed until Saturday.
Kiev says the process is “the last precondition for the organization of the quartet summit” between Ukrainian Presidents Volodymyr Zelinsky and Russian President Vladimir Putin, mediated by France and Germany, to move the peace process in eastern Ukraine.
The first and second troop withdrawals from the front lines took place in June and then in October.
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