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Ukraine Announces Temporary Truce At Donetsk Airport

A scene from mid-October of the devastation at Donetsk airport as Ukrainian troops searched for the remains of a fellow soldier. (Photo Sergei Loiko)

The Ukrainian military said its forces and Russian representatives had agreed to a temporary cease-fire at the airport in rebel-held Donetsk.

The military's press service said on December 1 the truce was agreed after talks near the airport between officials from Ukraine and Russia.

Reports quoted the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as saying that the terms of the deal call for a cease-fire on the contact line to go into effect on December 5 and heavy weapons to be withdrawn on December 6.

Fierce fighting causing hundreds of casualties has raged at the airport since May and continued after a cease-fire between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian officials was agreed in early September.

Ukraine said on December 1 three soldiers had been killed at the airport in the past 24 hours.

A spokesman for the Ukrainian military earlier on December 1 accused Russian special forces of participating in attacks on Ukrainian troops around the airport.

"These are Russian special forces," the spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, told Reuters. "It's already the third day that they've been trying to do something."

More than 4,300 people have died since fighting in eastern Ukraine began in mid-April.

It was not clear how long the cease-fire at the airport is supposed to last.

There was no immediate reaction by separatist leaders to the truce.

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters
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