Prime Minister David Cameron will hold rare face-to-face talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday in France at which he will urge Mr Putin to help de-escalate the situation in Ukraine.

The meeting, which Mr Cameron requested, will be held on the sidelines of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy and is the first time the two have met since Prince Charles sparked a diplomatic spat by likening Mr Putin to Hitler.

The Cameron-Putin talks were announced as Russia's envoy to Nato accused the Western alliance of encouraging the use of force by the Ukrainian government in eastern Ukraine and of hampering efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

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Moscow was also due to submit a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council, calling for an immediate end to the violence and the creation of humanitarian corridors to help civilians escape the fighting.

In the latest fighting, Ukrainian border guards said hundreds of pro-Russian militia members had attacked one of their posts with automatic weapons and grenade launchers in the early hours of yesterday, triggering a battle that claimed at least five lives.

Ukraine and its Western allies accuse Moscow of fuelling the pro-Russian uprising that threatens to break up the former Soviet republic of 45 million people.