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Ukraine, Separatists Again Agree to Cease-Fire

Austrian diplomat and OSCE Ambassador Martin Sajdik addresses the media after a meeting of the so-called Contact Group in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 26, 2015.

Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists have agreed to a cease-fire starting September 1, the day that the new school year is to begin.

The Trilateral Contact Group, which is seeking an end to the conflict that has killed more than 6,400 people, includes representatives from Ukraine, Russia and Russia-backed eastern Ukraine separatists. It has been meeting in Minsk, Belarus, under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The two sides agreed in February to a cease-fire between their forces in eastern Ukraine, but sporadic clashes have continued.

Russia seized Ukraine's Crimean peninsula last year, after popular protests led to the fall of Kremlin-backed President Viktor Yanukovych to Western-leaning leaders. Yanukovych fled to Russia and the Kremlin began supporting rebels in Ukraine's east, although it denies the mounting evidence of its military support.

Western governments hit Russia with economic and diplomatic sanctions after it annexed Crimea.