TOP STORIES FROM EUROPE AT 1115 GMT

UKRAINE

MOSCOW — Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Friday called on pro-Russian separatists to release Ukrainian soldiers who have been surrounded by the rebels in eastern Ukraine. Putin's statement came several hours after Ukraine accused Russia of entering its territory with tanks, artillery and troops, and Western powers accused Moscow of lying about its role and dangerously escalating the conflict. By Nataliya Vasilyeva. SENT: 900 words, photos.

UNITED NATIONS-UKRAINE-RIGHTS

GENEVA — Around three dozen people a day are being killed in eastern Ukraine where both sides target civilians in violation of international law and the death toll has risen to at least 2,220, the U.N. human rights office said Friday. The latest findings from the Geneva office, based on reports from a 34-member U.N. monitoring mission in Ukraine, show both sides committing a range of abuses targeting civilians trapped in urban areas or trying to flee through so-called safe corridors. By John Heilprin. SENT: 360 words, photos.

GERMANY-MERKEL IN CONTROL

BERLIN — Ordinary Germans are spooked about the future. Businesses are starting to see black clouds on the horizon. And an economy that has been the envy of Europe is showing cracks, shrinking unexpectedly last quarter amid the conflict in Ukraine. It might seem like enough to put any leader into trouble. But Chancellor Angela Merkel's popularity remains sky-high — with nobody in sight to touch her. By David Rising. SENT:790 words, photos.

ICELAND-VOLCANO

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Icelandic authorities raised the aviation warning code to red Friday after a small fissure eruption near Bardarbunga volcano, but no volcanic ash has been detected by the radar system. The eruption took place the Holuhraun lava field, north of Dyngjujoekull glacier, Iceland's Meteorological Office said. The event was described as being not highly explosive — and thus not producing much of the fine ash that can affect aircraft engines. By Jenna Gottlieb. SENT: 200 words, photos.

EUROPE-ECONOMY

FRANKFURT, Germany — Inflation in the 18 countries that use the euro sank to 0.3 percent in August, a worrying sign of economic weakness that is putting pressure on the European Central Bank to take drastic steps to save a stalling recovery. The figure was down from 0.4 per cent in July, statistics agency Eurostat said Friday, and is the lowest since October 2009. Back then the eurozone was deep in recession following the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers. By David Mchugh. SENT: 500 words, photos.

GERMANY-PILOTS-STRIKE

BERLIN — Thousands of passengers are feeling the impact of a pilots strike in Germany after negotiations between the country's biggest airline Lufthansa and the union representing pilots collapsed over a long-running dispute regarding wages and early retirement benefits. Germanwings, a subsidiary of Germany's biggest airline Lufthansa, said up to 15,000 passengers were affected by Friday's strike which started at 6 a.m. and was to last until noon local time (0400-1000 GMT). SENT: 130 words.

BRITAIN-TESCO

LONDON — Tesco shares have dropped sharply after Britain's largest retailer by revenue issued another profit warning and slashed its dividend to shareholders by 75 percent. The supermarket giant says market conditions remained challenging, cutting its forecast for 2014-2015 trading profits to between 2.4 billion pounds ($3.9 billion) and 2.5 billion pounds. Forecasts had been for 3.3 billion pounds. SENT: 130 words.