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EU hits Russia with new sanctions as Ukraine looks West

A Ukrainian soldier sleeps in the small eastern Ukrainian city of Volnovakha, Donetsk region on Septamber 11, 2014Tough new EU sanctions came into effect against Russia over the Ukraine conflict on Friday, with Moscow accusing its foes of trying to derail the push for peace in the former Soviet state. US President Barack Obama has also announced that Washington will intensify punitive measures to further isolate the Kremlin over its “illegal actions” in Ukraine, sending East-West relations spiralling further downward. The Western actions come despite a fragile ceasefire signed by Kiev and pro-Russian separatists a week ago that appears to have largely halted the deadly fighting across eastern Ukraine. President Petro Poroshenko, still struggling to keep his country united in the face of the insurgency, unveiled steps to cement Kiev’s ties with the European Union and Washington.

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