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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 would stay in Ukraine if granted 'special status'

Pro-Russian rebels have said they would be prepared to stay part of Ukraine if they were granted "special status," Russian news agencies report.

In a statement the separatists said one of their key conditions would be for Kiev to immediately end its military offensive.

Fighting is still continuing in eastern Ukraine. Credit: Reuters

Ceasefire talks were going ahead today but no major decision was expected.

Andrei Purgin, one of the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said: "This is the beginning of the process. We have come with proposals to find common ground and end the war and people dying."

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