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FBI: 'Russian spies gathering US economic information'

The FBI has charged three men with spying for the Russian government in and around New York.

Evgeny Buryakov, who is accused of being a covert intelligence agent on behalf of the Russian Federation, was arrested today in the Bronx.

The other two - Igor Sporyshev and Victor Podobnyy - have not been arrested and are no longer in the US. Both were protected by diplomatic immunity from arrest and prosecution while in the country.

The FBI has been watching the defendants with hidden cameras, microphones and phone taps for up to five years.

Investigators say Evgeny Buryakov provided his information the old fashioned way, in brief meetings where a bag, magazine, or slip of paper was passed.

They say the three men were gathering economic information, including on possible US sanctions against Russia as well as US efforts to develop alternative energy sources.

FBI agent Credit: Reuters/Zachary Fagenson

The intelligence-gathering efforts of Sporyshev and Podobnyy included, among other things, attempting to recruit New York City residents as intelligence sources for Russia; tasking Buryakov to gather intelligence; and transmitting intelligence reports prepared by Buryakov back to Moscow.

Specifically, during the course of the charged offenses, Sporyshev was responsible for relaying assignments from the SVR [Russia's version of the CIA] to Buryakov, and Sporyshev and Podobnyy were responsible for analyzing and reporting back to the SVR about the fruits of Buryakov's intelligence-gathering efforts.

– US Justice Department

FBI charges three in Russian spy ring case

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced the case alongside the FBI Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid

Three people have been charged in connection with a Russian spy ring that allegedly tried to recruit residents of New York as intelligence sources.

The FBI says one of the defendants was a trade representative of the Russian Federation in the city. They say another posed as an employee in the Manhattan office of a Russian bank.

The bank employee was arrested Monday in the Bronx. The two other suspects are still at large.

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Obama condemns 'Russian backing' of Ukraine rebels

The Foreign Secretary has called on Russia to halt its support of pro-Russian rebels who have launched a huge new offensive in eastern Ukraine.

President Obama also condemned what he called the "Russian backing, Russian training and Russian troops" supporting the separatists.

You may find some parts of Neil Connery's report disturbing.

Hammond calls out Russia after renewed Ukraine violence

Further violence by Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine will lead to a "grave deterioration" in relations between the European Union and Moscow, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has warned.

Tributes have been laid during a rally in Kiev for the people killed in Mariupol. Credit: Reuters/Gleb Garanich

Mr Hammond called on Russia to end its support for the separatists and exert its influence over the rebel leadership to bring an end to the attacks.

I am deeply concerned about the significant escalation in violence in east Ukraine over the past week. Recent announcements by the separatist leaders of further offensives, and their blatant refusal to abide by the ceasefire, raise serious questions about the commitments they made at Minsk.

I call on Russia to stop its material support to the separatists immediately, and use its considerable influence over the separatist leadership to stop these indiscriminate attacks, and fully abide by the commitments they made at Minsk.

Russia will be judged by its actions, not words. If the escalation in fighting continues, with tragic consequences for the local population, this will lead to a further grave deterioration in relations between the EU and Russia.

– Philip Hammond

EU members summoned to Ukraine emergency meeting

The European Union will summon foreign ministers of its 28 member states for an emergency meeting to discuss renewed fighting in Ukraine on Thursday, Foreign Affairs chief Federica Mogherini said.

East Ukraine has seen all out war return in recent days since pro-Russian rebels announced the effective end of a five-month ceasefire and the start of a new offensive.

They launched an assault on Saturday on Mariupol, a port of 500,000 people, the largest city still under government control in two rebellious eastern provinces.

Footage shows shell exploding in busy Ukraine street

Shocking dashcam footage appears to show the moment shells exploded in the streets of the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol yesterday.

At least 30 people were killed and more than a hundred injured when rocket fire rained down on the area yesterday.

The Ukrainian president has described the shelling as a terror attack, while Nato and the US demanded Russia withdraw support for rebels in the region.

Russia says it does not support the rebels, but Western governments say the amount of heavy weaponry in their possession suggests otherwise.

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At least 30 killed by pro-Russian rebel attack in Ukraine

A burnt-out vehicle in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, after a shelling by pro-Russian rebels Credit: Reuters

At least 30 people have been killed in a residential area of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, by rocket attacks launched by pro-Russian rebels.

NATO said fighting in the area has sharply escalated "in utter disregard of the ceasefire."

Russian troops were using sophisticated missiles, rockets and drones at multiple locations in Donetsk and Luhansk as well as Mariupol, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

Russian troops in eastern Ukraine are supporting these offensive operations with command and control systems, air defence systems with advanced surface-to-air missiles, unmanned aerial systems [drones], advanced multiple rocket launcher systems and electronic warfare systems.

I strongly urge Russia to stop its military, political and financial support for the separatists, stop destabilising Ukraine and respect its international commitments.

– NATO ecretary-General Jens Stoltenberg

Russia denies having troops in eastern Ukraine.

'At least 20 civilians' killed in Ukraine shelling

Ukraine has been shaken by an attack with left at least 20 civilians dead, according to local media.

A car burns on the street after a shelling by pro-Russian rebels of a residential sector of Mariupol. Credit: Reuters

The series of rocket attacks left 27 people dead and many others injured in the eastern city of Mariupol. The Ukranian national forces and pro-Russian rebels continue to accuse each other to be responsible for the attack.

Meanwhile, East Ukrainian rebels have launched an offensive on the city of Mariupol, one of their leaders says, as rockets kill and injure dozens in the port city. Ukraines Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called for an urgent session of the UN Security Council to discuss, what he says, is Russias role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Kerry calls on Russia to end support of Ukraine rebels

US Secretary of State John Kerry said he joined his European counterparts in condemning an assault by pro-Russian separatists on Mariupol, Ukraine, and he called on Russia to end its support for the rebels.

"It is reprehensible that the separatists are publicly glorifying this and other offensives in blatant violation of the Minsk agreements they signed," Kerry said in a statement issued while on a visit to Zurich.

A car burns on the street after a shelling by pro-Russian rebels of a residential sector of Mariupol. Credit: Reuters

He said the separatists' assault has been aided by Russia's "irresponsible and dangerous decision to resupply them in recent weeks with hundreds of new pieces of advanced weaponry, including rocket systems, heavy artillery, tanks, armored vehicles, in addition to continuing operational command and control."

"We call on Russia to end its support for separatists immediately, close the international border with Ukraine, and withdraw all weapons, fighters and financial backing. Otherwise, US and international pressure on Russia and its proxies will only increase," Kerry added.

Ten killed near Ukrainian port of Mariupol

Ten people have been killed in shelling by pro-Russian separatists of the east Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, the head of the Kiev-controlled Donetsk regional police said.

As a result of shelling by rebels of a residential sector of Mariupol ... ten people have been killed.

– Regional police spokesperson
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