The pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine say they have reached agreement with government forces on a humanitarian corridor to evacuate civilians from the epicenter of fighting.

The move comes as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande are set to leave for Moscow to talk with Russian President Vladimir Putin after discussing their peace plan Thursday with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Rebel leaders said Friday that they reached agreement with Ukrainian authorities to allow the evacuation of civilians from Debaltseve, a key railway hub that has become the focus of fighting in recent weeks because of its strategic location.

More than 5,300 people have been killed since the fighting started in April.