Debaltseve: Convoys of buses arrived in Ukraine`s frontline town of Debaltseve on Friday to take besieged civilians to safety after both sides agreed a brief humanitarian truce, an AFP correspondent said.
Around 25 buses from both the Ukrainian and pro-Russian separatist sides drove into the shattered strategic town that has been the centre of fighting in recent days.
"They have agreed a truce for Friday in the area around Debaltseve for the evacuation of the civilian population," Ukraine interior ministry official Vyacheslav Abroskin told AFP.
The town is a key railway hub between the two rebel strongholds of Lugansk and Donetsk that the separatists have been pounding with artillery for days, while Ukrainian forces retain control of one road out that has also been targeted.
Amnesty International said earlier this week that most of the town`s former population of 25,000 had fled, but that around 7,000 civilians remained trapped.
Ukrainian Major General Oleksandr Rozmaznin said that the truce around the town that rebels have almost encircled would last from 0600-0800 GMT and from 1200-1600 GMT on Friday.
An AFP correspondent said the Kiev-controlled road into the town was unusually quiet and that he could see more cars leaving than in recent days.
The truce comes as European leaders are set to take a new peace plan to Moscow, which is allegedly backing the bloody 10-month uprising that has killed over 5,300 people.