Rebels, government withdraw heavy weapons from Ukraine's Donetsk

Ukraine cease-fire hanging on a hair-trigger
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Story highlights

  • The withdrawal comes after last month's peace deal
  • A shaky ceasefire has been in place in Donetsk and neighboring Luhansk

Kiev, Ukraine (CNN)Pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk have withdrawn all heavy weapons from the front lines in accordance with a recent peace deal, the rebel group Donetsk People's Republic said Saturday.

On the other side, the Kiev-backed Donetsk regional authority said Ukrainian forces also withdrew all heavy weapons from the front lines in Donetsk, but added that in a 24-hour period from Friday to Saturday pro-Russian militants carried out 46 attacks, all of which were repelled, according to Col. Valentin Fedichev.
A shaky ceasefire has been in place in Donetsk and the neighboring Luhansk region, the center of a months-long conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces.
    The estimated number of people killed in eastern Ukraine since April 2014 now exceeds 6,000 "in spite of successive ceasefires," the United Nations Human Rights Office said earlier this week.
    The escalation in fighting in recent weeks, particularly near the Donetsk airport and in the Debaltseve area, resulted in hundreds of deaths, both civilian and military, according to the United Nations report.
    The report paints a picture of "merciless devastation of civilian lives and infrastructure," said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein.
    He called for all sides to adhere to the peace deal, reached last month in Minsk, Belarus, which calls for a ceasefire in many of the conflict's hotspots.