G-7 leaders affirm Russia sanctions


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The leaders of seven of the world’s most powerful countries agreed on Monday to toughen sanctions on Russia, if necessary, to press for a political solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

At the annual Group of Seven (G-7) summit, the leaders said current sanctions will remain in place until Russia helps to fully implement a peace plan agreed to in February in Minsk, Belarus, the Voice of America informs.

That indicates that the European members of the group will support the extension of key European Union sanctions at their summit this month.

The G-7 communiqué warned, “we also stand ready to take further restrictive measures in order to increase [the] cost on Russia should its actions so require.”

A brief offensive by Russian-back separatists last week raise new concerns about the sincerity of Russia’s commitment to finding a political solution.

U.S. President Barack Obama said, “Russian forces continue to operate in eastern Ukraine, violating Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

He said existing sanctions have crippled the Russian economy, and he said Russian President Vladimir Putin has to decide whether to “continue to wreck his country’s economy and continue Russia’s isolation in pursuit of a wrongheaded desire to recreate the glories of the Soviet Empire.”

Obama said, “Russia’s greatness does not depend on violating the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other countries.”

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