Belarus to host new round of Ukrainian peace talks

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MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Belarus says it will host another round of Ukrainian peace talks amid fierce fighting in eastern Ukraine.

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said representatives of Ukraine, Russia, pro-Russian rebels and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are to hold talks Friday in the Belarusian capital, Minsk. The rebels said Thursday they are planning to attend, but Ukraine wouldn't immediately confirm the meeting.

September's cease-fire deal signed in Minsk envisaged a pullback of heavy weapons and other steps to end hostilities in eastern Ukraine, where a separatist insurgency erupted in April following Moscow's annexation of Crimea. It has been repeatedly violated, and fighting flared up anew this month with rebels launching a multi-pronged offensive.

More than 5,100 people have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine, according to the U.N.

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