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US Diplomat Sees 'Some Pullback' of Weapons from E. Ukraine

A Russia-backed rebel stands on guard during preparation for an exchange of prisoners in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Oct. 29, 2015.

A top U.S. diplomat said on Wednesday that there have been signs that Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine are pulling back some of their weapons.

"We are now starting to see for the first time some pullback of Russian and separatist weapons," Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told a hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives.

NATO has called on Russia to withdraw heavy weapons which the alliance accuses it of providing in support of militant separatist groups in eastern Ukraine.

Russia denies Western charges it has provided the pro-Moscow rebels, who launched a rebellion in April 2014 in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, with arms and troops.

While violence has declined since a cease-fire was signed in Minsk eight months ago, Western diplomats say the 11-point peace plan is far from fully implemented.