World

Ukraine claims it is completing weapons pullback; rebels say they're already done

A Ukrainian serviceman walks on an empty road near Artemivsk, eastern Ukraine, Friday, March 6, 2015. Ukrainian military officials say government forces are withdrawing heavy rocket launchers from the front line with Russian-backed separatists in accordance with last month's cease-fire accord. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

A Ukrainian serviceman walks on an empty road near Artemivsk, eastern Ukraine, Friday, March 6, 2015. Ukrainian military officials say government forces are withdrawing heavy rocket launchers from the front line with Russian-backed separatists in accordance with last month's cease-fire accord. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)  (The Associated Press)

Ukraine's military says it is completing its pullback of heavy weapons under the terms of a peace agreement aimed at ending the war with separatist rebels that has killed more than 6,000 people.

An internationally brokered agreement calls for both sides to create a buffer zone by pulling back heavy weapons. Saturday was the deadline for the pullbacks to be completed.

Rebel official Denis Pushilin on Saturday said the separatists had completed their pullback ahead of schedule and another top rebel, Eduard Basurin, said even some mortars not covered under the agreement were being pulled back.

Col. Valentin Fedichev, deputy commander of the anti-rebel offensive, said Ukrainian forces were finishing their pullback.

There was no independent confirmation of either side's claim.