G7 threatens to intensify sanctions on Russia over Ukraine crisis
Group of seven (G7) leaders on Wednesday urged Russia to complete its troop withdrawal from the Ukrainian border, saying they stood ready to intensify targeted sanctions against Russia.
The group of industrialized nations welcomed the May 25 election in Ukraine and Petro Poroshenko's election as Ukraine's new president, according to a statement issued after the first day meeting of the G7 summit.
"We commend the willingness of the Ukrainian authorities to continue the national dialogue in an inclusive manner," the statement said.
The G7 countries urged Russia to recognize the results of the Ukrainian election, complete the withdrawal of its troops from the Ukrainian border, stop the flow of weapons and militants across the border and "to exercise its influence among armed separatists to lay down their weapons and renounce violence."
"We stand ready to intensify targeted sanctions and to implement significant additional restrictive measures to impose further costs on Russia should events so require," the statement said.
A G8 summit had been scheduled to take place in Russia's Sochi in early June under the Russian presidency. The G7 leaders, however, decided to meet in Brussels in the G7 format instead following the expulsion of Russia in March after the Crimean peninsula joined Russia after a controversial referendum.
Ukrainian authorities and some Western countries denounced the referendum as "illegal." The United States and the EU have initiated rounds of sanctions on Russian individuals and entities in connection to the Ukraine crisis.
Apart from the situation in Ukraine, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, the United States as well as the EU also discussed the global economy, energy, climate change and development.