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Ukraine Military Completes Light Weapons Withdrawal From Frontlines

Ukraine's military says it has finished a withdrawal of light weapons from frontlines with Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, where clashes erupted in recent days despite a cease-fire.

Army spokesman Oleksandr Zavtonov said on November 7 that the military withdrew its 82 mm caliber mortars from the villages of Pisky and Opytne near the ruins of Donetsk airport, which was ravaged by fierce battles last year.

The AFP news agency said a military convoy transporting mortars could be seen moving away from government positions in Pisky towards an arms depot.

Meanwhile, the separatists have said they pulled out their light weapons from the area on November 5.

A similar withdrawal took place in the Luhansk area in October.

On November 6, foreign ministers from Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France agreed to try to complete a withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the frontlines.

Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the end of November is the target date for working out a technical agreement on the removal of mines, which have claimed scores of victims.

A peace deal signed in February in Minsk calls for a vote to be held in the separatist regions under international auspices.

Those elections have now been pushed back to early 2016.

Based on reporting by AFP and TASS