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Russia says EU 'against peace' as US backs new sanctions

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the European Union has "made its choice against" a peace process in Ukraine by approving tougher sanctions against Russia.

President Barack Obama said the United States will join the EU in imposing sanctions on Russia's financial, energy and defence sectors after Moscow sent troops into eastern Ukraine last month.

David Cameron has spoken to European leaders and agreed to push ahead with the sanctions by the end of the week, his spokesman has confirmed.

After the announcement the Russian rouble reached a new historic low against the dollar.

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Ashton wants to 'secure Ukraine's territorial integrity'

The European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says she wants to ensure Ukraine can safeguard its territorial integrity.

Catherine Ashton is attending talks aimed at resolving the crisis in Ukraine. Credit: PA Wire

Speaking at the start of high-level talks in Minsk, Ashton said she wanted to "try and support the people of Ukraine to find peace and security, to ensure that they are able to enjoy territorial integrity".

She said Ukraine needed a "future that is economically viable" with "growing and good relations with the neighbours."

Earlier, Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko shook hands at the meeting - their first since June.

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