Ukrainian government forces, separatist rebels in east threaten to stop weapons pullback

Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed rebels in the east of the country are threatening to stop the ongoing weapons withdrawal if their positions continue to come under attack.

Olexander Turchynov, chairman of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, said in a statement on Wednesday that five troops have been wounded in rebel attacks on their positions Tuesday night and that Kiev will stop pulling back its weapons if the attacks persist.

Rebels and government troops have been pulling back weaponry since a truce was declared on Sept. 1.

Separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko on Wednesday threatened to start fighting if Kiev keeps violating the truce, the rebel mouthpiece Donetsk News Agency reported.

The military conflict in Ukraine's industrial heartland has claimed more than 8,000 lives and displaced millions.