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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Nato 'unable to defend western Europe against Russia'

Western Europe would not be able to defend itself against Russian intervention because of the progressive dismantling of military capability, one of Britain's most senior generals has warned.

General Sir Richard Shirreff was recently Nato deputy supreme commander. Credit: Phil Noble/PA Archive

In a wide-ranging interview with BBC's Newsnight, General Sir Richard Shirreff called on Nato to rearm if it was serious about defending itself in the future.

Asked about the crisis in Ukraine, he said: "The reality is that Nato would be very hard pressed and they would find it very difficult to put into the field, at sea or into the air the means required, particularly on land I would assess, to counter any form of Russian adventurism."

Currently just four out of the 28 Nato members spend more than the minimum target of 2% of GDP on defence.

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