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Separatist Leaders In Ukraine Announce Unilateral Cease-Fire

Ukrainian separatist leaders Aleksandr Zakharchenko (left) and Igor Plotnitsky (file photo)

The leaders of the separatists in Ukraine's eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk have announced a unilateral cease-fire starting at midnight on September 14.

In a recorded statement aired on Russian television on September 13, the separatist leader in Donetsk, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, said the separatists are "fully committed” to the Minsk peace agreements and see them as "the only solution."

Zakharchenko urged Kyiv to follow suit.

The separatist leader in the Luhansk region, Igor Plotnitskiy, made a similar announcement.

It is the first time that the Russia-backed separatists have come with the idea of a unilateral cease-fire.

But it was not immediately clear why the Russia-backed separatists made the announcement more than two weeks after the sides had already agreed to another temporary truce.

The announcement comes a few hours after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that he expects the parliament to vote soon on constitutional amendments granting autonomy to eastern Ukraine.

Fighting between government and separatist forces has killed more than 9,500 people in Ukraine’s east since April 2014.

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS