G7 to ‘swiftly impose’ new Russia sanctions

Move marks a further ramping up of pressure on the Kremlin by the grouping, which has turned on its fellow G8 member

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The G7 countries announced in a statement Monday they will impose fresh sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

“We have now agreed that we will move swiftly to impose additional sanctions on Russia,” the joint statement said.

“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 sanctions, which a senior U.S. official said could come as early as Monday, mark further escalation of pressure put in the Kremlin.

The decision reportedly came after President Barack Obama spoke with senior European leaders late Friday in what the U.S. State Department said was an example of the allies working in “lockstep.”

A senior U.S. official said that while the sanctions will be “coordinate and complementary,” they will not be the identical, as several European countries are economically bound to Russia, a large supplier of energy.

“Each country will determine which targeted sanctions they will impose,” the official said.

The statement by the G7 countries also praised the “restraint” of the new government in Kiev in dealing with pro-Russian gunmen who have seized official buildings in east 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 destabilize 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 maneuvers on Ukraine’s border.”

“We reiterate our strong condemnation of Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Crimea and Sevastopol, which we do not recognize.

“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.”

Sources said the measures would target individuals and could go further but would not be against sectors of the Russian economy.

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