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EU leaders expected to extend Russian sanctions

European Union leaders are likely to extend asset freezes and travel bans on key members of the Russian regime, as they meet in Brussels to discuss tougher sanctions in response to the annexation of Crimea.

David Cameron and Angela Merkel agreed to 'build on' travel bans alreayd in place. Credit: Christoph Schmidt/DPA/Press Association Images

In a pre-summit phone call last night, the Prime Minister and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed they would argue for the EU "building on" the travel bans and asset freezes agreed on Monday.

Merkel: Russian actions could lead to a catastrophe

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stepped up her criticism of Russia, saying the country has "exploited Ukraine's weakness instead of acting as a partner for stability."

Speaking in the German parliament, the Chancellor warned that if Russia continues its path, it would be "a catastrophe not just for Ukraine and the EU, but also for Russia."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel Credit: Oli Scarff/PA Wire

She said that EU leaders are ready to "take further action" if Russia continues to destabilise the situation.

"The territorial integrity of Ukraine cannot be called into question," she said.

Mrs Merkel said the situation in Ukraine's southern region of Crimea was not comparable to the case of Kosovo in the Balkans.

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Chinese president calls for 'diplomatic solution' in Ukraine

Chinese President Xi Jinping said the crisis in Ukraine needed to be solved via diplomacy.

In a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr Xi said solution needed to be on the basis of international law, German government said in a statement.

Merkel calls Crimean referendum 'unconstitutional'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Russian President Vladimir Putin referendum planned for March 16 on Crimea joining Russia violated Ukraine's constitution and was against international law.

The Chancellor also said she regretted that there had not been any progress on forming an "international contact group" which could find a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine.

Cameron speaks to Merkel and Hollande about Ukraine

Angela Merkel pictured with the Prime Minister in London last week Credit: Facundo Arrizabalaga/PA Wire

David Cameron has spoken to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French President Francois Hollande about the crisis in Ukraine, Number 10 has revealed.

Ahead of the meeting of EU leaders on Thursday, Downing Street said they all agreed "the international community should speak with one voice and send a clear message to Russia that its actions in Ukraine were completely unacceptable."

They also talked about the importance of "the costs and consequences for the Russian government of continuing to violate Ukraine’s sovereignty."

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  1. Chris Ship

Merkel: Benefits immigration 'headache' in Germany too

Angela Merkel has been speaking at a joint press conference with David Cameron in Westminster:

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