EU urged to stay united over Ukraine

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Ukraine has urged the European Union (EU) to stay united in keeping up sanctions pressure on Russia over the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

The appeal was made as leaders from EU countries gathered for a two-day summit.

Ukrainian prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said yesterday that Russian president Vladimir Putin was trying to divide Europe over Ukraine and that this would be a “disaster for the free world”.

Russia and the conflict in Ukraine figure high on the agenda of the summit in Brussels but the leaders are unlikely to announce any new sanctions. It already has visa bans and asset freezes in place targeting 150 individuals, including high-ranking Russians.

If Russia divides opinion on sanctions, “this will be the biggest success story for president Putin,” Mr Yatsenyuk said.