Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Saturday that a preliminary agreement had been reached to hold talks in Minsk on Tuesday on implementing the steps of a September cease-fire deal with eastern separatists, Interfax reported.
Clashes in east Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatist rebels are fighting Kiev government troops, have continued despite the signing of the cease-fire deal three months ago, and the death toll has risen to more than 4,300 since mid-April.
"So far a preliminary agreement has been reached that a meeting in Minsk will take place on the Dec. 9," news agency Interfax Ukraine quoted Poroshenko as saying.
Representatives of Ukraine, the pro-Russian separatist leadership, Russia and the OSCE security watchdog held talks in the Belarussian capital on Sept. 5 that led to Kiev and rebels agreeing a 12-point peace plan, the Minsk Protocol.
Poroshenko said the latest round of talks would focus on agreeing a schedule for the implementation of the terms of the protocol, including the creation of a non-militarized buffer zone from which the two sides will withdraw artillery and other heavy military equipment.
The proposed date of Dec. 9 coincides with a promised "Day of Silence," when both Ukraine and separatists, who have repeatedly accused the other side of violating the terms of the of the September cease-fire, have pledged to observe a truce.
According to United Nations data, an average of 13 soldiers, rebels and civilians have died every day since the cease-fire was formally agreed.