KIEV - The Ukrainian army and pro-independence insurgent rebels on Friday declared a temporary humanitarian truce in the frontline town of Debaltsevo in eastern Ukraine.
The ceasefire, beginning at 8:00 a.m. local time (0600 GMT), will last nine hours to enable the evacuation of civilians from the combat area, said Vitaly Kiva, deputy head of the Interior Ministry department in Donetsk region.
Meanwhile, Eduard Basurin, a senior insurgent commander, said that within the framework of the humanitarian truce, about 1,000 people will be evacuated from Debaltsevo and several hundreds from the neighboring Uglegorsk town.
The evacuees are allowed to choose a destination for their evacuation, Basurin said, explaining that civilians can decide whether to flee to government-controlled or rebel-held areas.
Debaltsevo, a Ukrainian army stronghold in Donetsk region with a population of about 25,000, has been an epicenter of the recent fighting between the warring sides in eastern Ukraine.
A green corridor for civilians was also established in Lugansk region, local authorities said.
According to Lugansk governor Gennady Moskal, over the past few days, about 100 children have been evacuated from war-torn areas in Lugansk region to Severodonetsk, a relatively calm town.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine, which has raged since April 2014, has claimed more than 5,300 lives and displaced over 1 million civilians, including nearly 700,000 people within Ukraine.