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Russia calls for 'peaceful settlement' in Ukraine

Russia has called for peace in Ukraine as it tries to push for a ceasefire.

Russia foreign minister Sergei Lavrov urged for a new round of talks on the issue and said: "We call for an exclusively peaceful settlement of this severe crisis, this tragedy."

If talks are successful pro-Russian separatists said they will release Ukrainian prisoners-of-war.
If talks are successful pro-Russian separatists said they will release Ukrainian prisoners-of-war. Credit: Reuters

Pro-Russian separatist leader Andrei Purgin said they were willing to discuss the exchange of prisoners and a temporary ceasefire.

Fighting in eastern Ukraine between separatists and the Ukrainian government has been going on since Russia annexed Ukraine's southern peninsula of Crimea in April.

Merkel on Russian sanctions: 'Doing nothing is not option'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said further sanctions must be imposed even if it affects German business.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said further sanctions must be imposed even if it affects German business. Credit: Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said doing nothing in response to Moscow's actions in Ukraine is "not an option".

She said further sanctions should be imposed even if they impacted on German companies.

"Accepting Russia's behaviour is not an option. And therefore it was necessary to prepare further sanctions," she said.

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Seven Ukrainian soldiers killed in the past 24 hours

Seven Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in the past 24 hours, a military spokesman has confirmed.

Earlier the military said Ukrainian paratroopers were fighting a Russian tank battalion in a bid to hold onto the airport outside Luhansk, a separatist stronghold on the border with Russia.

But military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said Ukrainian forces have now pulled back from the airport after being ordered to do so.

Sex abuse charge for father of Thai surrogate twins

An Australian man has been charged with sexually abusing twins he fathered with a Thai surrogate when they were aged under 10, according to ABC News.

The man, who cannot be identified, has been charged with indecent dealings of a sexual nature with the twins and possessing child abuse material which was discovered after a raid on his property.

The man denies all of the allegations against him, the report said.

Australian child welfare authorities are now looking into sending the children back to Thailand to be with their surrogate and biological mother.

However, the twins "consider themselves to be fully Australian" and "don't know that they are half Thai or have any connection to Thailand", Childline Thailand's Ilya Smirnoff told the website.

He added that paedophiles were "abusing" the surrogacy system in Thailand. The country is currently working on new laws banning commercial surrogacy.

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Three children stabbed to death in China primary school

A man has stabbed three children to death and injured several others at a primary school in China.

The suspect entered the school in Shiyan city of Hubei province on Monday, the first day of term after the summer break, and stabbed a teacher and eight students.

The man, believed to be a parent of a student, reportedly attacked the children because the school refused to allow his daughter to start the new term as she had not completed her homework.

He killed himself by jumping out the school building to evade arrest, state media said.

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