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Putin: Ukraine actions 'raises questions' over elections

A Ukrainian soldier jumps off an armoured personnel carrier at a checkpoint in the village of Malinivka, Credit: Reuters

Developments in the Ukraine raise very serious questions about the legitimacy of the 25th May Presidential Elections, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

More: Ukraine situation unravelling as US and Russia clash

Group hears mothers' concerns over Syria 'daily'

Sajda Mughal of the JAN Trust organisation said the group hears the concerns mothers have "daily" and understands the need to "protect your child".

Speaking after a campaign was launched to urge British Muslim women to their relatives against travelling to Syria, Ms Mughal said,"It is important for these mothers to protect and safeguard their children in order for them not to place their child's life at risk".

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Chemical weapons watchdog plans Syria gas probe

The head of the global watchdog overseeing destruction of Syria's chemical weapons is considering launching an investigation into alleged chlorine gas attacks in the country.

Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the chemical weapons watchdog, may launch a probe into a reported chlorine gas attack in Syria
Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the chemical weapons watchdog, may launch a probe into a reported chlorine gas attack in Syria Credit: AA /TT/TT News Agency/Press Association Images

Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, could start a fact-finding mission without seeking formal permission from Syria, said Reuters.

Syria became a member of the watchdog last year as part of a deal with Russia and the US to destroy its chemical weapons programme.

Read: Chlorine gas 'dropped by helicopter' say opposition

Bright with sunshine and showers

by - ITV Weather Presenter

Sunshine today but some areas will see more cloud - meaning bright rather than full blown-brilliant blue skies.

A few showers will crop up almost anywhere - these look hit and miss but slow moving and heavy where they develop.

Central England will get away with a drier day - and here there will be the best of the temperatures with 18-19C.

Elsewhere, it'll be a touch fresher and cooler.

Russia starts military drills responding to Ukraine force

Russia has started military drills near the Ukrainian border in response to operations by Ukrainian forces against pro-Russian separatists and NATO exercises in eastern Europe.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) has warned against Ukraine's recent use of force
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) has warned against Ukraine's recent use of force Credit: REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told the Interfax news agency Moscow was "forced to react to such a development".

"If this military machine is not stopped, it will lead to greater numbers of dead and wounded," he said.

"Planned exercises by NATO forces in Poland and the Baltic countries do not foster normalisation of the situation surrounding Ukraine either,"

Read: US and Russia clash words as Ukraine unravels

EU considers ban on Crimea bank transactions

The European Union may ban transactions with financial institutions in Crimea as part of its response to the annexation of the peninsula by Russia last month.

The EU considers Russia's annexation of Crimea to be illegal, and is considering sanctions
The EU considers Russia's annexation of Crimea to be illegal, and is considering sanctions Credit: Jens Kalaene/DPA/Press Association Images

EU leaders consider the takeover of Crimea by Russia as illegal and have asked the EU executive arm, the European Commission, to propose economic, trade and financial restrictions on Crimea for swift implementation.

The proposals are separate from EU talks on stepping up sanctions against Russia if Moscow does not help deeescalate tensions, and could be adopted by EU foreign ministers at their next meeting in mid May.

Read: US and Russia clash words as Ukraine unravels

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Scotland Yard 'helping FBI with inquiries' over teacher

Scotland Yard has confirmed it is helping the FBI with its inquiries into potential British victims of paedophile teacher William Vahey, who worked at London's Southbank International School for four years until last year.

Officers from the sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse investigation team are assessing and evaluating intelligence passed to the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) by US authorities, and are actively seeking any evidence whilst working with partner agencies to ensure that potential victims are supported.

– Scotland Yard spokesman

Bernie Ecclestone rejects bribery claims as trial begins

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has rejected accusations of bribery as he went on trial iin Germany today.

Ecclestone told a Munich court that a German banker who received a disputed $44 million (£26 million) payment did not tell the truth.

ITV News Reporter Sasha Williams reports:

In a personal statement read out by his lawyers, Ecclestone said he was "grateful" to be able to give his side of the story, though he told judges that he would answer questions from the Munich state court through his lawyers, rather than personally.

Ecclestone, 83, is charged with bribery and incitement to breach of trust, and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Ukraine situation unravelling as US and Russia clash

by - Diplomatic Correspondent

There are reports of up to five dead in a gun battle for control of a checkpoint to the north of Slaviansk to the East of Ukraine.

If true, then potentially this is a very serious escalation in the crisis. A week ago we were talking about a deal between America and Russia, which should have seen these armed groups disband and go home.

Ukrainian and separatist forces have clashed in the East of the country
Ukrainian and separatist forces have clashed in the East of the country Credit: REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

The situation is unravelling very quickly indeed. This morning President Obama has been speaking, and saying that the blame for the failure of the Geneva deal rests squarely with russia.

Read: Moscow repeats calls for Ukrainian military withdrawal

From President Putin this morning, a strongly worded warning, saying if these reports of Ukrinian troop movements are true, that would be "a crime against its own people" that would have serious consequences.

Russia of course has tens of thousands of troops poised on the border.

I don't think this is going to come to an invasion. We may see more sanctions from the west, but for now this remains a war of rhetoric and words.

Read: Russia says Ukraine 'must take first step' to resolve crisis

Bernie Ecclestone denies bribery allegations

Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has denied bribery allegations at the start of his trial in Germany today.

Making his way into the Munich courtroom, he told reporters "I'm confident, the sun is shining" and the 83-year-old even joked about his marital status in court.

Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone arriving at court in Munich today Credit: Reuters

When asked if he was married or divorced, three-times married Ecclestone, replied "both," adding: "I like to remember the divorce part."

He is charged him with bribing now-jailed banker Gerhard Gribkowsky to smooth the sale of a stake in Formula One to private equity firm CVC eight years ago.

If convicted he could face up to 10 years in prison and the end of his decades-long dominance of the motor sport.

His lawyers said: "The alleged bribery never happened. The prosecution's claims are based on statements by Dr. Gribkowsky, which are wrong, misleading and not conclusive."

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