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Lavrov calls for 'de-escalation of rhetoric' over Ukraine

Russian troops near the Ukrainian border will return to its permanent bases after completing its military exercises, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said, calling for a "de-escalation" of rhetoric.

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USA 'not recognising what is happening in Crimea'

US President Barack Obama warned Russia that the US and the international community were "not recognising what is happening in Crimea.

Read: Obama: Russia in Crimea 'not a done deal'

President Obama before he went on stage to address world leaders at the Hague. Credit: Reuters

Speaking to world leaders, he rejected "the notion that a referendum sloppily organised over the course of two weeks" would "somehow be a valid process".

He appealed for other leaders to put pressure on Moscow to get Mr Putin to "understand there is a choice to be made here" and said:

"We also are concerned about further encroachment by Russia into Ukraine".

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