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Putin: Deal to end fighting 'could be reached by Friday'

A deal to end fighting in eastern Ukraine could be reached this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

A local resident walks past a crater caused by shelling in the village of Spartak outside Donetsk. Credit: REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Following a phone call with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Putin said their views on ending the violence were "very close" and suggested Kiev and the pro-Russian separatists could reach an agreement by Friday.

Earlier US President Barack Obama said a ceasefire would only succeed if Russia stopped sending troops "disguised as separatists" into Ukraine.

Putin and Poroshenko 'largely agree' way out of crisis

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko have spoken by phone and "largely agree" on a possible way out of the Ukraine crisis, Interfax news agency reported, citing Putin's spokesman.

Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko shaking hands during their last meeting. Credit: Reuters

"The viewpoints of the presidents of the two countries largely coincide on possible ways out of the grave crisis situation," Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying.

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Putin: Moscow cannot stand aside in Ukraine crisis

President Vladimir Putin said Moscow could not stand aside when people were being shot at in Ukraine, he told Russia's state TV Channel 1 in an interview.

Vladimir Putin Credit: Reuters

It must be borne in mind that Russia cannot stand aside when people are being shot at almost at point blank.

– Vladimir Putin

Mr Putin also said ending the crisis was down to "the political will of the current Ukrainian authorities".

The West has accused Moscow of supporting pro-Russian separatists who are fighting Ukrainian government forces in the east of the country.

Putin could 'not wait to send aid convoy into Ukraine'

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he decided to send a humanitarian aid convoy into Ukraine because he could no longer wait.

According to the Kremlin account of the phone call, President Putin expressed "serious concern" about the military escalation in eastern Ukraine.

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Putin to prepare 'retaliation' against western sanctions

Russian President Vladimir Putin has told his government to prepare for retaliatory measures against the latest western sanctions, the Tass News Agency reports.

"Of course, it should be done carefully in order to support domestic producers and not hamper consumers," he was quoted as saying.

Vladimir Putin: West bullying Russia over Ukraine crisis

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the West of bullying him over the Ukraine crisis - an approach he called both "strange and unacceptable".

European foreign ministers in Brussels have drawn up new sanctions against Russia but not the economic measures supported by Britain and the US.

ITV News Diplomatic Correspondent John Ray reports from Moscow:

Putin tells UK to negotiate Falklands sovereignty

Putin, left, with Argentina president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner during an official government dinner in Buenos Aires yesterday. Credit: Reuters

Russian president Vladimir Putin has urged Britain to "negotiate" the sovereignty of the Falklands Islands with Argentina, accusing the UK of a "double standard in foreign relations."

Speaking at an official dinner during a visit to Buenos Aires, Putin said: "Russia supports the need to find a solution in the dispute for the [Falkland] Islands at the negotiation table directly between Great Britain and Argentina.

"I wanted to bring attention to the words of Mrs President [Fernandez] regarding the double standard in foreign relations."

Argentina president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has previously accused Britain of hypocrisy in criticising Crimea's pro-Russian referendum vote yet supporting a pro-British vote in the Falklands.

She said: "I appreciate, of course, the support for our national cause [sovereignty of the Falkland Islands] which is not a uniquely Argentine cause."

Putin and Obama discuss Ukraine's peace plan

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed proposals for peace in Ukraine with the US President Barack Obama today, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Speaking on the phone, the two leaders discussed the Ukrainian military ceasefire that was declared by President Petro Poroshenko last week.

Mr Obama urged Mr Putin to support the peace plan and said Moscow would face further "costs" if it did not take steps to reduce tensions in the country, the White House said.

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