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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UN: More than 2,500 killed in eastern Ukraine fighting

Almost 3,000 have died in eastern Ukraine including the victims of the MH17 plane crash. Credit: Reuters

A total of 2,593 people have died in fighting in eastern Ukraine since mid-April, a senior UN human rights official has said.

"The trend is clear and alarming. There is a significant increase in the death toll in the east," said Ivan Simonovic, UN Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights.

"The current number of killed is 2,593 - close to 3,000 if we include the 298 victims of the MH17 (Malaysian airliner) plane crash," he added.

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