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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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Ukraine to buy in coal after conflict causes shortage

Ukraine will buy one million tonnes of coal because the ongoing conflict has disrupted its domestic coal production, Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk announced.

Eastern Ukraine is home to much of the country's heavy industry and coal mines. Credit: REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

Ukraine's forces are fighting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, which is home to much of the country's heavy industry and coal mines and accounts for around 18% of the economy's output.

"They [the rebels] bombed our main coal mines ... and so the government has already signed an agreement on the supply of one million tonnes of coal from South Africa," Yatseniuk said.

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