As it happened: Ukraine crisis

Key points

  • Ukrainian troops withdraw from the airport in the eastern city of Luhansk after heavy fighting with rebels
  • Pro-Russia separatists gain ground around Donetsk and south around the port of Mariupol
  • Ukrainian and Russian officials are due to hold talks with separatist rebels and international monitors in the Belarusian capital, Minsk
  • Russia's foreign minister calls for talks on "immediate ceasefire" in Ukraine
  • All times BST (GMT + 1 hour)

Live text

Reporting:

  • Kate McGeown 
  • Kerry Alexandra 
  • Jastinder Khera 
  • Sarah Fowler 
  • Alex Murray 

Last updated 1 September 2014

STANDARD 09:02

Welcome to our live coverage of unfolding events in Ukraine, where Russia's foreign minister has called for an immediate ceasefire ahead of key negotiations due later on Monday.

STANDARD 09:07

Both Ukrainian and Russian officials are due to attend a meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk, which includes representatives from the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe).

STANDARD 09:07

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accuses Russia of launching "direct and open aggression" against Ukraine, which he says "has changed the situation in the zone of conflict in a radical way" - via Reuters

STANDARD 09:11

On the eve of talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the question of statehood for eastern Ukraine must be part of substantive negotiations.

STANDARD 09:11

A spokesman for Ukraine's military says it is battling a Russian tank contingent in the eastern city of Luhansk, and has accused Russia of sending military units into the region, including Donetsk.

STANDARD 09:12

"The battle between Ukrainian paratroopers and a reinforced tank battalion of the Russian armed forces is continuing with the goal of controlling the Luhansk airfield," military spokesman Leonid Matyukhin wrote on his Facebook page.

STANDARD 09:15

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a meeting with students at Moscow State Institute of International Relations in Moscow September 1, 2014.

The West has warned Russia against interfering in eastern Ukraine - and threatened further sanctions. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says any new sanctions would force Russia to protect its economy, citizens and businesses.

STANDARD 09:20

The BBC's David Stern, in Kiev, says amid a sense of pessimism there is a small spark of hope that a ceasefire may be agreed in the upcoming talks.

Rebels have made very large gains in the last week, he continues, moving beyond the centre of Donetsk. Ukrainian troops are digging their heels in, in Mariupol, where they are preparing for an attack, with a large stream of people leaving the city in fear of attack by pro-Russia separatists.

STANDARD 09:24

Ukraine's permanent representative to the OSCE, Ihor Prokopchuk, is appealing to the international community to put more pressure on Moscow by "providing significant practical support to Ukraine" i.e. military aid.

TWEET

Steve Rosenberg, BBC News, Moscow

tweets: Lavrov describes EU position on Ukraine as a "dead-end", hopes Russia "won't be forced to end its European direction" because of it