G7 warns Russia of more sanctions over UkraineThursday 31 July 2014 00.03
The leaders of the world's major developed economies condemned Russia for destabilising Ukraine today, and warned it faces still tougher sanctions if it does not change course.
"Russia still has the opportunity to choose the path of de-escalation, which would lead to the removal of these sanctions," the G7 powers said, in a joint statement.
"If it does not do so, however, we remain ready to further intensify the costs of its adverse actions."
Britain, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, issued the statement, one day after the US and the European Union announced increased sanctions on Moscow.
"We once again condemn Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, and actions to destabilise eastern Ukraine. Those actions are unacceptable and violate international law," the group said.
"We condemn the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and the deaths of 298 innocent civilians. We demand a prompt, full, unimpeded, and transparent international investigation."
The G7 powers said Moscow should use its influence with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to enable air crash investigators and OSCE monitors to operate in safety.
]They demanded that Russia get behind a ceasefire plan being pushed by Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, and support efforts to find a political solution to a conflict with a rising civilian death toll.
Earlier, Russia issued a warning saying that new sanctions on its economy will have “tangible" consequences for the United States.
The new European and US measures aim to limit Russia's economic trading as a consequence for Moscow's support for rebels activity in Ukraine.
In its response to the sanctions the Russian government accused the US of seeking to punish Moscow for what it describes as its assertive policies.
The Russian foreign ministry issued a statement saying the US was "pursuing a sole goal -- to settle the score...over independent policies that Washington finds inconvenient".
Yesterday the US implemented economic sanctions, targeting Russia's banks VTB, Bank of Moscow and the Russian Agriculture Bank.
VTB, Russia's second largest bank, says it is ready to borrow in other currencies after the US imposed a block on access to dollar financing.
Russia’s second largest natural gas producer, Novatek, has also spoken out, saying it will go ahead with key projects despite the US sanctions.
The US and European sanctions have been welcomed by Ukraine's foreign minister.
Pavlo Klimkin pledged Kiev would not attack cities now controlled by pro-Russian separatists in its drive to re-establish control over its territory.
He also supported the convening of a new international conference to end months of violence in eastern Ukraine and said he had discussed the idea with US Secretary of State John Kerry earlier in the day.