The National:

Welcome to our new daily world news briefing ...

MORE than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict between Russia-backed separatists and Ukrainian troops since the Crimean peninsula was annexed in 2014, according to conservative estimates. Tension between Kiev and the Kremlin, however, show no signs of abating.

Ukraine’s defence ministry has warned it will soon send navy ships through the Kerch Strait, where Russia fired on and seized three Ukrainian vessels two weeks ago.

Ukraine responded by introducing martial law for 30 days, strengthening forces on the border with Russia and calling up reservists for training.

Ukrainian defence minister Stepan Poltorak said naval ships will soon sail through the Kerch Strait, “otherwise Russia will fully occupy the Sea of Azov”.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov insisted that there would be no prisoner swap for the 24 captured seamen until they are put on trial for violating the Russian border.

The National:

US envoy Martin Griffiths is attempting to broker a peace in Yemen

If European leaders required a reminder of the true cost of full-scale conflict they would be wise to heed the latest UN refugee agency report on Yemen. It recorded nearly 1500 civilian casualties, a third of whom were women and children, between August and October.

The tally emerged as opposing parties met with US envoy Martin Griffiths, pictured above, in Sweden in a bid to end four years of bloodshed.

UNHCR urged the two sides to do more to protect civilians, warning an average of 123 civilians were killed and wounded every week during the three-month period, in a war that has killed at least 16,000 civilians.

In other news from the Middle East, a US-sponsored draft resolution that would have condemned the militant Islamic group Hamas, which controls Gaza, has failed to win the required two-thirds majority in the UN General Assembly.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley told the assembly before the vote that it could make history and unconditionally speak out against Hamas, which she called “one of the most obvious and grotesque cases of terrorism in the world”.

But the result of vote on the resolution was 87 in favour against 57 opposed, with 33 abstentions – below the two-thirds requirement.

Hamas thanked those “that stood by our people’s resistance and the justice of their cause”.

The National:

Meanwhile, Angela Merkel has given an emotional farewell speech to the Christian Democrats, as she steps down as party leader after 18 years. “The future will test our values... we must always approach work joyfully,” she said.

And finally, Ohio State University in the United States have been encouraged to pig out ahead of their final exams. An Ohio Pork Council-sponsored bacon vending machine has been set up on campus, selling $1 cooked strips.