October 30, 2019 / 12:54 PM / 18 days ago

NATO chief welcomes troop withdrawal in eastern Ukraine

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds a news conference during the NATO defence ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium October 24, 2019. REUTERS/Johanna Geron?

KIEV (Reuters) - NATO welcomes the withdrawal of Ukrainian and Russian-backed rebel forces in eastern Ukraine, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday, urging Russia to implement the Minsk peace agreements, Interfax Ukraine news agency reported.

Ukraine and the rebel forces started the disengagement process on Tuesday in Zolote, a town in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk.

Ukrainian forces have been fighting the rebels in the Donbass region in a conflict that has killed more than 13,000 people. Both sides have agreed to modest troop withdrawals, but these have been disrupted many times by ceasefire violations.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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