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Obama: Talks will cover Russian aggression in Ukraine

US President Barack Obama has said "standing up to Russia aggression in Ukraine" will be among topics on the agenda at the G7 Summit.

US President Barack Obama arrives for the G7 summit in Germany. Credit: RTV

He also listed the global economy, the future of the European Union, trade partnerships, combating extremism, and climate change as areas that will also be discussed.

Rifkind 'not surprised to be banned from Russia'

Sir Malcolm Rifkind told ITV News he is "not particularly surprised" that he is among 89 European Union politicians and other senior figures who have been banned from entering Russia.

The former Foreign Secretary said President Putin has "that sort of little tantrum every so often."

I'm not particularly surprised, Mr Putin tends to go in for that sort of little tantrum every so often and they clearly are feeling that the sanctions are having an effect, they are realising that their economy will continue to be damaged unless they approach the Ukraine issue in a diplomatic way, rather than misuse of their military forces.

– Sir Malcolm Rifkind

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EU and Ukraine sign 1.8bn euro loan deal

The European Union and Ukraine have signed a 1.8 billion euro loan deal in an effort to help revive the country's economy.

EU and Ukrainian officials signed the agreement at the European Partnership Summit in Riga, Latvia. Credit: APTN

It requires Ukraine to adopt a series of reforms including anti-corruption measures to remedy structural problems in its economy.

In the first quarter of 2015, Ukraine's economy contracted by nearly 18 percent from the previous year as the country struggled with the impact of unrest in the industrial heartland of the east.

Kerry and Putin set to discuss Ukraine and Syria conflicts

US Secretary of State John Kerry is set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia today to discuss the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

John Kerry will meet with Vladimir Putin Credit: Romuald Meigneux/Pool/ABACAPRESS.COM

Kerry is reportedly planning to try to gauge Putin's willingness to push pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine to comply with the current fragile ceasefire and also to try and establish how supportive Russia are towards Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The US State department have described Kerry's trip to Sochi as part of an "ongoing effort to maintain direct lines of communication with senior Russian officials".

Kerry is also expected to lay a wreath at a World War II memorial during his visit before departing for a Nato meeting in Turkey later in the day.

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US pledges extra $17.7m humanitarian aid to Ukraine

America has pledged an additional $17.7 million to provide the Ukrainian government with aid for essentials such as food, shelter and water.

Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko about reform efforts in the country today.

A statement from the White House said: "The vice president welcomed the appointment of a new head of the anti-corruption bureau and encouraged the further implementation of rule of law reforms, including anti-trust measures and judicial reform."

Ukraine: President orders investigation into murders of prominent pro-Russians

File photo of Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko Credit: Reuters

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has ordered a “quick and transparent” investigation has been ordered into the murders of a pro-Russian journalist and a former politician loyal to the ousted former leader Viktor Yanukovich.

Oles Buzina, 45, was known for his pro-Russian opinion pieces published in Ukraine's Sevodnya daily newspaper, and was shot dead by two masked gunmen in Kiev.

Ex-member of parliament for Yanukovich's discredited Party of Regions, Oleh Kalashnikov, was killed in a similar attack as he entered his home the day before.

In an official statement, President Poroshenko said; “Their nature and political import are clear - this is a deliberate act, which plays into the hands of our enemies.”

Foreign ministers agree withdrawal of heavy weapons from eastern Ukraine

A number of foreign ministers from Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine agreed to push ahead with the withdrawal of heavy weapons from eastern Ukraine where violence has escalated after tough talks in Berlin.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Credit: PA

"We agreed today not only to continue with the withdrawal of heavy weapons but also to include other categories of weapons in the withdrawal," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters after the talks had finished, adding weapons to be withdrawn would now include tanks.

"Nothing is easy in the Ukraine crisis, this is not new. During these talks today the differences of opinion between Kiev and Moscow also became clear once again," he said, detailing an agreement between ministers at the talks.

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