Senior Ukraine separatist: Rebel chief has resigned

A senior separatist official in eastern Ukraine has announced the resignation of a rebel chief after a four-day showdown between rival factions.

Leonid Pasechnik, state security minister of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic, said in a statement posted on the main rebel website Friday that the republic's chief Igor Plotnitsky has resigned on health grounds.

Plotnitsky was spotted arriving at a Russian airport on Thursday, but has made no official public appearances since Wednesday. Pressure mounted on Plotnitsky earlier this week after he fired the interior minister.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in a long-simmering conflict between government troops and Russia-backed separatists in Luhansk and in parts of the neighboring Donetsk region since 2014. The region has been plagued with infighting between various armed groups and warlords.