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Hundreds of Russian aid trucks returned home from rebel-held eastern Ukraine on Saturday, highlighting a dire need for long-term assistance to the region where homes and livelihoods have been destroyed by months of fighting. Ahead of a much-anticipated meeting on Tuesday between the presidents of Russia and Ukraine, German Chancellor Angela Merkel held talks in Kiev with Ukrainian officials and expressed hope for a peaceful solution to the conflict that has claimed more than 2,000 lives. Russia unilaterally sent hundreds of aid trucks into Ukraine through a rebel-held border point Friday, saying it had lost patience with Ukraine’s delaying tactics, a move that Ukraine promptly described as an invasion.



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