Russian aid trucks exit Ukraine

Need for outside help dire in cities hammered by fighting

Posted: August 24, 2014 at 3:45 a.m.

German chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during their meeting in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014. Merkel, who has advocated a measured European Union response to Russia’s aggressive policies in Ukraine, met Saturday in Kiev to meet Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and said she urged a political solution to the crisis. Poroshenko, for his part, said Ukraine was willing to try to solve the conflict by talks, but not at the expense of the country’s territorial integrity or sovereignty. (AP Photo/Mykhailo Markiv, Pool)

DONETSK, Russia -- 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.

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