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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's President expects peace process by Friday

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko has said he hopes a peace process for the troubled eastern region of his country to begin on Friday in the Belarussian capital Minsk and urged politicians to support the talks.

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. Credit: Wiktor Dabkowski/DPA/Press Association Images

"I greatly hope that on Friday in Minsk the peace process will finally begin," Poroshenko said in a statement. "The people of Ukraine are fully in favour (of peace), while politicians want to play at war. I want to say that I will not allow this," he added.

Representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) are scheduled to hold more talks in Minsk on Friday on ending the six-month conflict between Kiev's forces and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.

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