War-weary Ukrainians pick a powerful new parliament next Sunday set to be dominated by pro-Western and nationalist forces who will determine if President Petro Poroshenko can make peace with the Kremlin while holding on to the separatist east.
Russian President Vladimir Putin`s spokesman on Friday accused some leaders of refusing to accept "reality" in Ukraine, after key talks between the Kremlin strongman and his Ukrainian counterpart alongside European leaders.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the importance of maintaining the ceasefire in Ukraine in a phone conversation, the Kremlin said in a statement on Monday.
Ukraine on Thursday raised hopes of a ceasefire with pro-Moscow rebels during a NATO summit where Britain and the United States urged the international community to stand up to Russia and counter the threat from Islamic State.
Russian and Ukrainian leaders agreed Wednesday on steps needed for a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, but Moscow cannot be party to any agreement as it is not involved in the conflict, a Kremlin spokesman said.
Russia vowed on Tuesday to adopt a beefed up new military doctrine over NATO`s plans to establish a rapid-response team that could ward off the Kremlin`s expansion into Ukraine and feared push further west.
Russian tennis ace Maria Sharapova would soon be an outlaw if she does not fly to Moscow and comply with President Vladimir Putin's new law that requires all 10 million Russians with dual citizenship to register with the Kremlin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin travelled to a much-hyped meeting in Crimea amid expectations of more saber-rattling over Ukraine, but he instead struck a conciliatory note and called for peace in a speech on Thursday that received surprisingly brief coverage on Russian television.
Intense battles raged on Friday around the airport in the main stronghold of pro-Kremlin insurgents as Ukraine`s new leader laid out tough terms for a ceasefire demanded by his European allies and Russia.
As a Ukrainian government offensive sends separatists retreating from their strongholds in the country`s restive east, there are signs that Moscow is seeking to distance itself from the pro-Russian rebels.
Retreating pro-Russian insurgents dug on Monday in Ukraine`s sprawling industrial hub of Donetsk after government forces scored a string of morale-boosting victories in the bloody battle for the future of the country.