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Repairmen work to repair the electricity network after what locals say was a night shelling in Donetsk

Repairmen work to repair the electricity network after what locals say was a night shelling in Donetsk December 9, 2014. Ukrainian government forces said they had suspended combat operations as a "Day of Silence" began in the war-torn east on Tuesday, marking an effective ceasefire on the front line of the conflict with separatist rebels. In the city of Donetsk, the separatists main stronghold, a firing was heard up to 9 a.m. but later appeared to have slackened off. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov (UKRAINE - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT MILITARY)

Russian involvement in Ukraine

Government troops and Russian-backed separatists largely suspended hostilities in east Ukraine on Tuesday, raising hopes of a lasting peaceful settlement in a conflict that has raged for seven months and claimed thousands of lives.

The lull in fighting followed a proposal by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to hold a "day of silence" as a bid to revive a largely ignored cease-fire deal reached in September.

The war has left more than 4,300 people dead, displaced hundreds of thousands and exhausted a nation struggling to stave off economic collapse. (AP)

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