The Group of Seven has voiced its support for imposing a series of new sanctions on Russia in the wake of worsening crisis in Ukraine, with a senior US official claiming that some of them could be introduced on Monday.
The move marks a further ramping up of pressure on official Moscow by the group, which has turned on its fellow G8 member since Russia annexed Crimea last month.
“We have now agreed that we will move swiftly to impose additional sanctions on Russia,” a 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 tough-talking comes after the U.S. president Barack Obama, who is currently in Seoul on a business trip, spoke by telephone with senior European leaders late on Friday in what the US State Department said was an example of the allies working in “lockstep”.
A source, familiar with the matter, however, said that the measures by each country need not be identical. Several European economies are closely connected to Russia, which is a large supplier of energy.
“Each country will determine which targeted sanctions they will impose,” a U.S. official said. “These sanctions will be coordinated and complementary, but not necessarily identical. US sanctions could come as early as Monday.”
The G7 praised Kiev the “restraint” with which the new government in Kiev had acted in dealing with the pro-Russian gunmen who have seized official buildings in the east of Ukraine as the crisis gripping the country has spread.
“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 destabilise 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 manoeuvres on Ukraine’s border. We reiterate our strong condemnation of Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Crimea and Sevastopol, which we do not recognise.”
“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.”
The EU is predicted to name 15 previously unidentified individuals to be placed under sanctions and would focus on those it thinks are responsible for the unrest in Ukraine, the sources said.
The United States is expected to impose sanctions on entities and individuals, including “cronies” of Vladimir Putin, insiders claim.
It’s also expected that only one thing that might prevent the G7 from toughing the sanctions on Monday would be a sudden reversal of what they say is Russian-sponsored separatist movements in eastern Ukraine.
“You will find a European list much more connected to actions on the ground, and an American list more focused on cronies and entities,” said one of the sources, adding that some EU nations remain concerned about placing sanctions on Putin associates.