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Merkel urges truce in Ukraine-Russia talks next week

Published on Aug 24, 2014 2:38 PM

KIEV (AFP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed for a new ceasefire in crisis talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, as the troubled country prepared for Independence Day celebrations on Sunday and a controversial Russian convoy returned home.

The visit by Merkel - the most influential Western leader to call on Kiev since the crisis erupted in the ex-Soviet state - came ahead of crunch talks on Tuesday between Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin alongside top EU officials.

Tensions surged on Friday when Russia sent scores of trucks it said were carrying aid to the stricken insurgent stronghold of Lugansk in an unauthorised move Kiev described as a "direct invasion".

During her visit to Kiev, Merkel called for a "bilateral ceasefire and effective border controls" to help stop four months of brutal fighting between pro-Russian rebels and government troops.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) addresses the media next to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko after their meeting in Kiev on Aug 23, 2014. Dr Merkel pushed for a new ceasefire during the talks with Mr Poroshenko, as the troubled country prepared for Indepenedence Day celebrations on Sunday, Aug 24. -- PHOTO: AFP
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