April 16 (Reuters) - Brent crude rose toward $110 a barrel on Wednesday on mounting tensions in Ukraine, while prices for U.S. oil were nearly unchanged after a report showed a huge build in stockpiles, which canceled out geopolitical concerns.
Ukrainian government forces and separatist pro-Russian militia staged rival shows of force in eastern Ukraine on the eve of crucial talks on the former Soviet state's future.
Brent crude has been buoyed by the tensions between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country in recent days. The Ukrainian government confirmed on Wednesday that six of its armoured vehicles were in the hands of Russian supporters.
Meanwhile, growing oil stockpiles in the United States have weighed on benchmark prices there, as production hit the highest level in more than a quarter of a century, and imports continued to rise.
Brent crude for June delivery rose by a dollar earlier in the session but pared gains to settle up 24 cents at $109.60 a barrel, its highest level since March 3. The May contract expired on Tuesday.
U.S. crude for May delivery rose 1 cent to settle at $103.76 a barrel. U.S. oil was up more than $1 before the EIA inventory report. Wednesday marked the U.S. oil options expiry for the May contract.
"With the long weekend coming and with tensions in Ukraine, there is a fear to sell U.S. crude, even though the inventory build was so high," said Bill Baruch, senior market strategist at iitrader.com LLC in Chicago.
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