Ukraine rebels to delay local elections

Ukraine's president and Russian lawmakers hailed the move as a step toward peace in a war that has killed more than 8,000 people since April 2014.

A statement Tuesday from Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Deinego said the rebel-run areas of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces would put off the votes until Feb. 21. The two are the Donetsk and Luhansk envoys to the Minsk Group peace talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

VIDEO: Nine killed in east Ukraine as battle heats up

The military conflict between pro-Russia rebels and Ukrainian government troops in the country's industrial heartland has largely subdued after an armistice was signed in February.

But despite the pledges to withdraw heavy calibre weapons, both sides seem to be engaged in heavy fighting.