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Merkel, Hollande urge Ukraine leader to give rebels self-rule

Anti-aircraft gunners of Ukrainian forces take part in exercises not far from the southeastern city of Mariupol, Donetsk region on July 7, 2015German Chancellor Angel Merkel and French President Francois Hollande took the rare step Friday of pressing Ukraine’s Western-backed leader to ensure partial self-rule for the pro-Russian separatist east. The blunt message from two of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s most important allies marked another sign of European impatience with fighting that still engulfs the ex-Soviet nation five months after the signing of a broad truce. The 13-point agreement reached in the Belarussian capital Minsk controversially guarantees three years of autonomy to militia-run districts of Ukraine’s industrial provinces of Lugansk and Donetsk.

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