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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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Rebels 'backed by 3,000 Russians' make gains on coast

Pro-Moscow rebel forces in Ukraine have gained a foothold on the Azov Sea and aim to fight their way down the coast to the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, the leader of the main separatist entity said.

Alexander Zakharchenko said 3,000 Russian volunteers were serving with the rebels. Credit: Reuters

Alexander Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said in an interview with Reuters that there were about 3,000 Russian volunteers serving in the rebel ranks.

He said that the rebels could defeat the Ukrainian military without the need for the Russian state to provide them with military support.

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