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"A former partner is waging a hidden war against a sovereign state" - Last chance for peace in Ukraine

World leaders are engaged in talks.

Ukraine Headlights from a military car light up a road with a damaged house near it on the outskirts of Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine. Source: AP/Press Association Images

FRENCH, GERMAN AND Ukrainian leaders are to discuss a last-ditch peace bid for east Ukraine with Vladimir Putin on Sunday, after the US called for “deeds” from the Russian leader accused of masterminding the conflict.

President Francois Hollande and Chancellor Angela Merkel were to join Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Putin for a phone call, after Western leaders warned the peace drive may be a “last chance” to stop all-out war.

In a dramatic gesture at a gathering of world leaders in Germany on Saturday, Poroshenko brandished passports and military ID cards he said were seized from Russian soldiers deep inside his territory, offering what he said was “evidence” of Russia’s presence in the country.

“Today a former strategic partner is waging a hidden war against a sovereign state,” he said at the Munich Security Conference.

Fresh fighting in the former Soviet republic claimed eight civilian lives, separatist authorities said, with Kiev accusing the rebels of massing heavy weapons ahead of a new offensive.

Merkel set the conference agenda in Munich as she championed the peace plan that she and Hollande took to Putin in Moscow late Friday.

“It is uncertain whether it will lead to success, but from my point of view and that of the French president it is definitely worth trying,” she said.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told national television the fate of the joint European push would be known in “two or three days”.

US Vice President Joe Biden injected a note of caution: “Given Russia’s recent history, we need to judge its deeds not its words. Don’t tell us, show us, President Putin!”

© – AFP 2015

Read: ‘If these talks fail, we know what will happen – war’

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