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Putin calls for ceasefire in eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling for a ceasefire between  pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government forces following the downing of a Malaysian passenger plane.

"Direct talks between the opposing sides must be established as soon as possible. All sides in the conflict must swiftly halt fighting and begin peace negotiations," Putin said at a meeting with Russian Orthodox Church leaders, Reuters reported.  

"It is with great concern and sadness that we are watching what is happening in eastern Ukraine. It's awful, it's a tragedy,” Putin added.  

The Malaysian Airlines plane was shot down as it flew over embattled eastern Ukraine Thursday, killing 298 people aboard.