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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.

Russia: There will be no military intervention in Ukraine

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said there will be no military intervention from Russia in Ukraine.

Speaking ahead of talks taking place in Minsk later he called for an "immediate ceasefire without conditions".

He added Russia would defend its economy, citizens and businesses in response to any sanctions imposed on them.

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US 'should arm Ukraine against Russian invasion'

The US, the European Union and Nato should arm Ukraine in its effort to repel a "Russian invasion," according to the chairman of the US senate's foreign relations committee.

Democratic senator Robert Menendez told CNN's State of the Union programme: "This is a direct invasion by Russia. It's not rebels, it's Russian soldiers."

US Senator Robert Menendez said the US, the EU and Nato should arm Ukraine.
US Senator Robert Menendez said the US, the EU and Nato should arm Ukraine. Credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Erns

He added that the US, EU and Nato "should be providing the Ukrainians with the types of defensive weapons that will impose a cost upon (Russian President Vladimir) Putin for further aggression."

Asked whether President Obama's administration is considering such a move, he said: "I think that may very well be on the table right now. These are changed circumstances."

Kremlin: Crisis in Ukraine is a 'domestic conflict'

Areas of eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists are fighting Kiev government forces should remain part of the country, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said.

Putin
Vladimir Putin Credit: PA

"This is not a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, this is a domestic Ukrainian conflict," Peskov told reporters.

Asked if "Novorossiya" - the name the rebels give to the region in dispute - should remain part of Ukraine, he said: "Of course."

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