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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EU 'prepared to toughen sanctions against Russia'

The European Union is prepared to toughen sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis, the European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said.

The bloc wants to reach a political deal to end the confrontation, he added.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. Credit: Reuters

He said: "We are in a very serious, I would say, dramatic situation... where we can reach the point of no return. If the escalation of the conflict continues, this point can come."

"We are ready to take very strong and clear measures but we are keeping our doors open to a political solution," Mr Barroso added.

He described any tightening of sanctions as intended not to escalate the crisis but to push Moscow to negotiate and he stressed that the EU did not want confrontation - "it makes no sense to have ... a new Cold War" - and said that would be "detrimental to all of Europe".

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