The Group of Seven rich countries has agreed that they will impose new sanctions on Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, a statement says, with a senior US official saying they could come as early as Monday.
“We have now agreed that we will move swiftly to impose additional sanctions on Russia,” a joint G7 statement said today.
“Given the urgency of securing the opportunity for a successful and peaceful democratic vote next month in Ukraine’s presidential elections, we have committed to act urgently to intensify targeted sanctions and measures to increase the costs of Russia’s actions.”
The G7 is a group consisting of the finance ministers and central bank governors of seven advanced economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The statement praised the “restraint” with which the new government in Kiev had acted in dealing with the pro-Russian gunmen who have seized official buildings in the east of Ukraine.
“In contrast, Russia has taken no concrete actions in support of the Geneva accord.
“It has not publicly supported the accord, nor condemned the acts of pro-separatists seeking to destabilise Ukraine, nor called on armed militants to leave peacefully the government buildings they’ve occupied and put down their arms.
“Instead, it has continued to escalate tensions by increasingly concerning rhetoric and ongoing threatening military manoeuvres on Ukraine’s border.
“We reiterate our strong condemnation of Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Crimea and Sevastopol, which we do not recognise.
“We will now follow through on the full legal and practical consequences of this illegal annexation, including but not limited to the economic, trade and financial areas.”
The fresh sanctions come after the Ukrainian military launched a new offensive to besiege the rebel-held city of Slavyansk and insurgents blew up an army helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade.
And they follow Pentagon claims Russian warplanes violated Ukraine’s airspace several times in 24 hours.