G7 leaders warn Russia of more sanctions

Leaders of the world’s most developed economies Thursday warned Russia of more sanctions unless all fighting stops in Ukraine and vowed to stand by the war-torn country as winter approaches.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sat 27 Sep 2014, 1:31 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 3:07 AM

“Sanctions are not an end in themselves; they can only be rolled back when Russia meets its commitments related to the ceasefire and the Minsk agreements and respects Ukraine’s sovereignty,” G7 leaders said after talks in New York.

“In case of adverse action, however, we remain ready to further intensify the costs on Russia for non-compliance,” their statement said.

They welcomed a September 5 ceasefire deal and a later nine-point plan struck at the weekend in the Belarussian capital of Minsk as important steps forward.

But the G7 leaders warned Russia it must pull back its troops and equipment, secure the border and ensure all hostages held by pro-Russian separatists are released.

Moscow is already reeling under a slew of tough sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and Canada targeting individuals as well as key Russian companies.

“We stand united in the expectation that this crisis will be solved with respect for international law, and Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence,” said the statement from the foreign ministers of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States.

The leaders also pledged to help Ukraine as it faces winter and to rebuild the country’s economy by working with financial institutions.

“On the threshold of the coming winter, Ukraine faces difficult economic and social challenges, partially caused by the conflict forced upon the country,” the statement said.

“We commit ourselves to help Ukraine to recover from this massive economic setback and to rebuild its economy.”

The five-month separatist uprising has killed more than 3,200 people and driven 650,000 from their homes.

A fragile European-brokered ceasefire sealed September 5 has dramatically scaled back the fighting across industrial eastern Ukraine. But deadly shelling and gunfire is reported almost daily around the flashpoint city of Donetsk.

The ex-Soviet country’s worst crisis since its 1991 independence has also damaged East-West relations and stoked fears across eastern Europe of Russian territorial ambitions.

Ukraine’s parliament last week backed President Petro Poroshenko’s plan for rebel-held parts of the Russian-speaking east to hold local council elections December 7 that would help restore law and order, but not pursue any independence claims.

However, guerrillas brushed off the offer and announced plans to set up their own parliaments in self-organized November 2 polls.

Poroshenko said Thursday he hoped neither Russia nor the rest of the international community would recognize the legitimacy of the separatist vote.

And he added he hoped the “most dangerous” part of the crisis was over.

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