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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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Renewed shelling heard near Ukrainian city of Mariupol

Witnesses heard renewed artillery shelling to the east of the port of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine today, hours before peace talks are due to begin, Reuters reports.

"Our artillery has come and is being deployed against the (pro-Russian) rebels," the mayor of Mariupol, Yuri Khotlubey, told Ukraine's 112 TV channel.

A commander of a Ukrainian volunteer militia based in Mariupol told Reuters: "We were under fire all night but we are still keeping the rebels at bay. They are facing us with tanks and artillery."

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