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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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Nato set to create new 'high-readiness force'

Nato leaders meeting this week are expected to create "a very high-readiness force" to deal with Russian aggression in Ukraine.

The new force could include several thousand troops that will be mobilised for action in any potential 'hotspot' within 48 hours, according to officials.

Nato already has a rapid reaction force but US President Barack Obama and other leaders meeting for a summit in Wales this week are expected to create a new force that would be able to respond more quickly to a crisis.

We will develop what I would call a spearhead ... a very high-readiness force able to deploy at very short notice. This could include several thousand troops, ready to respond where needed with air, sea and special forces support.

– Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

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