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Ukraine says it is pulling back rocket launchers from front line in accordance with cease-fire

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KIEV, Ukraine — 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.

Military spokesman Col. Andriy Lysenko said the Uragan launchers were being pulled back by 35 kilometers (22 miles) from the line of contact.

Both sides in the conflict, which has claimed more than 6,000 lives since flaring up in April, have given assurances they are complying with pullback requirements. Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have complained that they have been obstructed from conducting exhaustive verifications, however.

Also, despite the heavy weapons withdrawals, multiple skirmishes and exchanges continue to be reported daily.

Lysenko accused rebels of mustering equipment, weapons and manpower in several locations in preparation for potential upcoming offensives.

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