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Ukraine chief upbeat about bid for peace

NATO boss says he’s wary of a Russian smoke screen

Posted: September 5, 2014 at 3:23 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during NATO meetings Thursday in Newport, Wales. Poroshenko said he was ready for a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine if talks with separatists starting today in Minsk, Belarus, are successful.

Ukraine's president expressed "careful optimism" Thursday that a peace deal could be reached with Russian-backed separatists at their coming talks, even as he and NATO leaders agreed that Moscow should be punished for its role in the insurgency.

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A military vehicle burns on a country road Thursday near Berezove in eastern Ukraine after a clash between government forces ... (By: SERGEI GRITS) (Credit: AP)

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