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Ukraine rebels 'ready to pull back tanks and smaller weapons' from front line

Ukraine's Russian-backed separatists say they are ready to pull back smaller-calibre weapons from much of the front line in eastern Ukraine.

Alexander Zakharchenko, leader of the Donetsk rebels, said his forces are ready to pull back their tanks and armoured vehicles with weapons under 100mm a distance of three kilometres (1.8 miles) from the front line, except in "problem areas", the rebel Donetsk News Agency reported.

Rebels in the Luhansk region are ready for a similar move, it said.

Under a February armistice, the rebels and the Ukrainian troops they are fighting were to pull back heavy weapons to create a buffer zone, but violations have been frequent and fighting continues. Ukrainian military spokesman Colonel Andriy Lysenko today said three civilians had been killed in shelling of the town of Avdiivka.

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