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German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed for a new ceasefire in crisis talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Saturday, as 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 next 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”.



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