1. National

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.

View all 199 updates ›

Putin: Deal to end fighting 'could be reached by Friday'

A deal to end fighting in eastern Ukraine could be reached this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

A local resident walks past a crater caused by shelling in the village of Spartak outside Donetsk. Credit: REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Following a phone call with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Putin said their views on ending the violence were "very close" and suggested Kiev and the pro-Russian separatists could reach an agreement by Friday.

Earlier US President Barack Obama said a ceasefire would only succeed if Russia stopped sending troops "disguised as separatists" into Ukraine.

More on this story