Disengagement underway in war-torn east: Ukraine’s official

KYIV, UKRAINE (AP) — Ukraine’s Foreign Minister said that government forces have begun pulling back weaponry in the war-torn east.

Vadym Prystaiko told Ukrainian media yesterday that the much-anticipated disengagement between government troops and Russia-backed separatists kicked off earlier in the day.

The disengagement in eastern Ukraine, which was delayed for weeks, is seen as the final hurdle before the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany can get together to discuss a peace settlement for the conflict that has claimed more than 13,000 lives since 2014.

Russian news agencies yesterday quoted Rodion Miroshnik, a separatist official in the Luhansk region, as confirming that the disengagement was underway.

Yesterday’s announcement follows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s visit to the area where he confronted armed veterans who arrived there to try to hamper the pullback.