Merkel to urge caution in U.S. as pressure builds to arm Ukraine forces




 
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February 9th, 2015  
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Topic: Merkel to urge caution in U.S. as pressure builds to arm Ukraine forces


By Andreas Rinke and Aleksandar Vasovic WASHINGTON/DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to argue in Washington on Monday against arming Ukraine in its conflict against Russian-backed rebels, while in Brussels EU ministers held off tightening sanctions to give peace talks a chance. Merkel's message that sending Western weapons to Kiev risks escalating the conflict is likely to get a sympathetic hearing when she meets President Barack Obama later in the day. Nine Ukrainian troops have been killed in the past 24 hours and seven civilians also died, Kiev said on Monday, with fighting particularly intense around the town of Debaltseve, a major rail and road junction northeast of the city of Donetsk. Merkel, who with French President Francois Hollande is due to meet Putin on Wednesday in Belarus, has come under fire from U.S. foreign policy hawks in the Republican-controlled Congress who want defensive weapons sent to the Ukraine army.




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