The Ukrainian army and Moscow-backed separatists on Saturday launched the last phase of a troop pullback ahead of a high-stakes summit with Russia, Kiev's military said.

“The disengagement of troops and weaponry has begun” at the village of Petrivske in the Donetsk region, a senior Ukrainian army representative, Bogdan Bondar, told reporters at the scene.

The troop pullback in the village of Petrivske is one of a series of confidence-building measures that could pave the way for a four-way summit between Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany aimed at ending the simmering Donbass conflict.

Fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed fighters has killed more than 13,000 since 2014, with both sides accused each other of violating a ceasefire that was agreed in the Belarus capital Minsk in 2015.

The Kiev government has said the withdrawal in the village of Petrivske would mean that Ukraine has fulfilled all necessary conditions from its side for peace summit to take place.