“The west should have taken steps to make absolutely sure that eastern Ukraine would not fall too. That required a big stick, and big carrots too – or at least some subtle diplomacy. Instead we got utterly meaningless sanctions aimed at the wrong people (Putin’s big-business cronies do not determine his foreign policies).”
Angus Roxburgh: The west is obliged to defend Ukraine – and Putin must know what that means.

Pro-Russian separatists seize Ukrainian armoured vehicles

Pro-Russian armed separatists have seized five armoured personnel carriers and a tank from the Ukrainian army, which they then drove in a victory lap through the centre of Kramatorsk in Ukraine’s east, where government forces are attempting to wrest back control of the city.

About 100 heavily armed men, some in balaclavas and wearing military fatigues, rode on top of the seized armoured vehicles, the first of which was flying a Russian tricolour. Full story

Photograph: Luke Harding

NYPD disbands controversial Muslim surveillance unit

A special New York police department unit that sparked controversy by tracking the daily lives of Muslims in an effort to detect terror threats has been disbanded, police officials said on Tuesday.

Stephen Davis, a spokesman for the NYPD, confirmed that detectives assigned to the unit had been transferred to other duties within the department’s intelligence division.

In a statement the mayor, Bill de Blasio, called the move “a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve, so that our cops and our citizens can help one another go after the real bad guys”. Full story

Photograph: Seth Wenig/AP

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad says civil war is turning in regime’s favour

President Bashar al-Assad has said that the country’s three-year civil war is turning in the government’s favour, state news agency SANA reported.

"This is a turning point in the crisis, both militarily in terms of the army’s achievements in the war against terror, and socially in terms of national reconciliation processes and growing awareness of the truth behind the (attacks) targeting the country," he said.

Syria’s army has made a series of advances in recent months, overrunning opposition bastions near the Lebanese border and in the central province of Homs. Full story

Pictured: Civilians and rescuers after a government warplane attack on the Duma area of Damascus on Sunday. Photograph: Bassam Khabieh/Reuters

One killed as Ukrainian forces launch ‘anti-terrorist’ operation

One Ukrainian state security officer has been killed and five others wounded in an “anti-terrorist” operation on Sunday against pro-Russian separatist militants in a city in the east, the interior minister said.

On the side of the separatists there had been an “unidentifiable number” of casualties during the operation in the town of Slaviansk, the minister, Arsen Avakov, said on his Facebook page. ”There were dead and wounded on both sides,” Avakov said. Full story

Pro-Russian gunmen seize police station in Ukraine

Gunmen have seized a police station in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland amid a tense deadlock in the country’s east, where armed pro-Russian protesters have barricaded themselves inside government buildings and demanded independence from Kiev. Full story

Pictured: Policemen guard the regional prosecutor’s office in the Donetsk after separatists tried to storm the building. Photograph: Alexander Khudoteply/AFP/Getty Images

Indian elections: 10 things we have learned so far

There’s 3D hologram campaigns and Modi’s phantom marriage, just two of the top 10 things we have learned from the world’s biggest democratic election. What we’ve learned 

Pictured: A huge crowd turns out to greet the Bharatiya Janata party’s Narendra Modi in Vadodara, India. Photograph: Divyakant Solanki/EPA

Satellite images reveal Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s border

Nato has released satellite images of the Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s eastern border: a powerful concentration of fighter planes, helicopters, artillery, infantry and special forces which officials say could be ready to move with just 12 hours notice.

The images appear to undermine official suggestions from Moscow that there is nothing unusual about the troop movements, nor any reason to be alarmed. Full story

Maria Miller quits as culture secretary in blow to David Cameron

Maria Miller has resigned as culture secretary after telling David Cameron that her continued presence around the cabinet table would act as a distraction to the “vital work” of the government.

Hours before Cameron was expected to face a bumpy session in the House of Commons, Miller released a letter to the prime minister saying she would resign with immediate effect. Full story

Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

Nigel Farage triumphs over Nick Clegg in second televised debate

Nigel Farage triumphed in the second television debate on Europe by a clear-cut 69% to 31%, an instant poll showed, suggesting that a more emotional but often over-scripted Nick Clegg failed to convince viewers that Ukip is selling the British people a “dangerous con” and a “fantasy”. Read more

Photograph: Jeff Overs/BBC/EPA