Ukrainian government, separatists agree on new cease-fire

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The Ukrainian government and Russia-backed separatists have agreed on a new cease-fire in the country's war-torn east, a spokesman for the Ukrainian government said Wednesday.

Fighting between government forces and Russia-backed rebels in Ukraine's industrial heartland has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced more than a million since it began in 2014. A cease-fire between the warring parties was first negotiated in 2015, but it has been repeatedly violated.

Darka Olifer, spokeswoman for Ukrainian government envoy Leonid Kuchma at talks with separatist rebels, said they agreed to a cease-fire in the east starting Saturday to allow residents to begin harvesting crops.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine has recently seen an uptick in fighting, with troops and civilians killed and injured in indiscriminate shelling.

On Tuesday, the monitoring mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said that rebel fighters shot at its patrol of two armored vehicles outside the rebel stronghold of Donetsk. Separatists' mouthpiece Donetsk News Agency reported on Wednesday that separatist authorities denied any role in the incident and said they have detained the individuals who attacked the patrol.