Pro-Russian separatists in Seversk, in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov)
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Fighting has flared between Ukrainian and pro-Moscow separatist forces, both sides reported Sunday, further straining a unilateral cease-fire declared by Ukraine, as Russian President Vladimir Putin pressed Kiev to talk to the rebels. Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, at separate ceremonies marking the anniversary of Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, both stressed the need to bring peace to Ukraine's rebellious east.Putin publicly expressed support Sunday for Ukraine's declaration of a cease-fire in its battle against pro-Russian separatists and called on both sides to negotiate.Putin's conciliatory words came as Russia began large-scale military exercises and after NATO accused Russia of moving troops back toward the Ukrainian border.The Kremlin initially dismissed the peace plan that Poroshenko laid out Friday.Putin discussed the cease-fire on Sunday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, Merkel's office and the Kremlin said.
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