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New East Ukraine ceasefire set for Saturday: separatists

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Kiev (AFP)

A fresh ceasefire between pro-Russian separatists entrenched in eastern Ukraine and Ukrainian forces will come into force this weekend, Ukraine and the separatists said Wednesday.

The truce, set to start at midnight local time on Saturday, was agreed at a meeting of the Contact Group for Ukraine attended by the separatists, said spokeswoman Viktoria Talakina.

The Contact Group is made up of representatives from Kiev, Moscow and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

"The ceasefire will last until August 31," Talakina told the pro-separatist DNR agency. The information was confirmed in Kiev.

This latest ceasefire announcement came as Moscow cancelled a meeting with senior US diplomats after Washington reinforced sanctions imposed over Russia's interference in Ukraine and occupation of Crimea.

So far, none of the truces declared during the two-year conflict has lasted.

The OSCE, which runs a monitoring mission in the conflict zone, regularly reported violations of the last truce over Easter.

On Tuesday, unidentified gunmen opened fire on two vehicles being used by OSCE monitors inside separatist territory. No one was hurt in the incident.

More than 10,000 people, civilians and fighters, have been killed in eastern Ukraine since the conflict broke out in 2014.

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