German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Kiev today, ahead of a Tuesday meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. She immediately encouraged the leaders to be open to peace proposals when they arrive in Belarus for their talks.
"The plans are on the table," Merkel said in a news briefing. "Now actions must follow. We need a two-sided ceasefire linked to a clear controlling of the Russian-Ukrainian border."
Merkel's visit coincided with renewed tensions between Moscow and Kiev. On Friday, NATO officials claimed for the first time to have evidence that Russia is providing direct artillery support to pro-Russia militants in Eastern Ukraine. And while a convoy of Russian trucks departed Ukraine a day after entering with what Moscow claimed was humanitarian aid for civilians, Poroshenko blasted the operation, which was carried out in defiance of Ukrainian and Western leaders.
Despite the maneuvers, diplomats said Merkel planned to use her visit to encourage Poroshenko to consider any peace proposals presented at Tuesday's meeting.
"You cannot achieve peace on your own," she said. "I hope the talks with Russia will lead to success."