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Ukraine crisis live updates: G7 ready for dialogue with Russia

G7 due to meet later on Friday amid concern about sudden escalation of violence in Ukraine’s conflict-hit east.

The Group of Seven says it is prepared for “a serious dialogue” with Russia over the Ukraine crisis after Western countries and NATO accused Moscow of trying to create a pretext for invasion with an escalation of violence in Ukraine’s conflict-hit east.

On Friday morning, Russian-backed rebels in the east again accused Kyiv’s forces of shelling a rebel-held village. The accusation follows a slew of alleged incidents on Thursday.

Skirmishes in the area are common, but tensions near the border have intensified with the deployment of tens of thousands of Russian troops nearby.

These are the latest updates:

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Ukraine records 60 ceasefire violations by separatists over 24 hours

The Ukrainian military said it has recorded 60 ceasefire violations by pro-Russian separatists over the past 24 hours, with one soldier injured.

In a report, the military said separatists opened fire on more than 10 settlements, using heavy artillery, mortars and a tank.

G7 ready for ‘serious dialogue’ with Russia on Ukraine

German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock says the Group of Seven (G7) is prepared to have “a serious dialogue” with Russia on the Ukraine crisis.

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In a statement issued ahead of Friday’s key security conference in Munich she said: “We will use Munich to send out a message of unity: we are ready for a serious dialogue on security for all.”

Russia is not scheduled to attend the annual event which continues until Sunday.

Russia says infantry units return after Crimea drills

Russia’s Interfax news agency says several mechanised infantry units that took part in drills in Crimea have returned to their bases.

Interfax said the troops had returned to the regions of Dagestan and Chechnya, citing Russia’s defence ministry.

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Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine accuse Kyiv of shelling village

Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine have directed more allegations of shelling against Kyiv’s forces.

The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic says shelling targeted Petrivske village at about 5:30am (03:30 GMT), according to Russian news agency Interfax.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the Ukraine-Russia crisis. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

You can read the updates from Thursday, February 17, here.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES