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Ukrainian Deaths Surge as Merkel Sharpens Rhetoric on Russia

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel slammed Russia for undermining neighboring Ukraine’s sovereignty and cited “many setbacks” in peace efforts as the death toll in the conflict jumped.

As Ukraine’s army suffered its worst casualties in two weeks, an attack Thursday in Donetsk killed eight civilians and the government accused its pro-Russian adversaries of ignoring a diplomatic push to withdraw heavy weaponry. Merkel said Russia’s annexation of Crimea can’t be allowed to pass and sanctions should remain. NATO said violence is at pre-truce levels.