Tanks are seen near the government-held town of Bakhmut, Ukraine, February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
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Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have called on Ukrainian troops and separatist rebels to cease fire in eastern Ukraine.In their first phone call since a flare-up in hostilities in the Donbass region in the east which killed more than 33 people last week, Putin and Merkel Tuesday expressed concern over heavy fighting in Ukraine's industrial heartland. The Kremlin said in a statement that Putin pointed out to Merkel remarks of some Ukrainian officials who indicated that it was Kiev who triggered last week's escalation.Tuesday, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov praised U.S. President Donald Trump's approach to the Ukraine crisis, saying it marked a big improvement from that of his predecessor Barack Obama, in comments likely to worry Kiev.
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