Vladimir Putin has said the Ukrainian assault on eastern cities of the country is reminiscent of the Nazi siege of Leningrad in World War II.
The Russian president said "the problem" in the conflict was the Ukrainian authorities' refusal to enter substantive negotiations with pro-Russian separatists.
He added that Russians and Ukrainians are "practically one people".
Were the Russians -as Barack Obama claims - weighed down by sanctions, or where the Ukrainians looking to cut their losses?
The new president of the European Council could be "very important" for David Cameron.