Saturday, August 23, 2014

Merkel Seeks to Defuse Ukraine Crisis as Convoy Returns to Russia

Visit Comes in Wake of NATO Accusations That Russian Forces Were Firing Artillery in Ukraine

By Anton Troianovski And Paul Sonne, WSJ
Updated Aug. 23, 2014 1:01 p.m. ET

KIEV—German Chancellor Angela Merkel renewed her push for talks to resolve the Ukraine crisis on Saturday, using a visit to the capital to try to tamp down fresh tensions in the wake of a dispute over a Russian convoy of trucks and NATO accusations that Russian forces were acting inside Ukraine.

Ms. Merkel said she wasn't seeking new sanctions against Moscow despite an international outcry in response to Russia sending a convoy of trucks it said was carrying humanitarian aid into rebel-held eastern Ukraine over Kiev's objections. On Saturday, tensions over the trucks appeared to recede after international officials said all of the vehicles that had entered Ukraine had returned to Russia.

"For us, it is not a matter of new sanctions for the time being," Ms. Merkel said at a news conference after meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Mr. Poroshenko is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and European Union officials in Minsk, Belarus, on Tuesday. Ms. Merkel said she also is pushing for a renewed meeting of the "contact group" consisting of Ukrainian, Russian, and international officials with representatives of Ukraine's different regions.

(More here.)

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