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Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been invited to Ukraine, according to the Kyiv Post

Should she accept, the August 23rd visit would come just one day before Ukraine's national day of independence.

Merkel spoke on the phone with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko Saturday to address reports of Russian military vehicles crossing illegally into eastern Ukraine. During the call, Poroshenko extended an invitation to Merkel to visit Ukraine ahead of the August 30 meeting of the European Council, according to his official website.

The news comes hours after dozens of civilians were killed by separatist shelling as they were being escorted by the military away from violence in eastern Ukraine. According to figures released by the United Nations on Friday, over 156,000 people have been displaced from the areas around the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.

On Sunday, the Ukrainian government announced that national forces were making significant progress in regaining Luhansk, which has become a rebel stronghold.

Meanwhile, tensions between the two countries have risen in recent days as a fleet of over 200 Russian aid convoys are attempting to cross the border into Ukraine. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Monday that no arrangement for delivering the aid has been cleared, the Associated Press reported. 

While Merkel has long been considered closer to Vladimir Putin than her EU counterparts she continues to call on Russia to stop sending arms into Ukraine

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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