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Ukraine

G7 agrees to impose new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine crisis

The Group of Seven (G7) nations have agreed to "move swiftly" and impose new sanctions against Russia. They have accused Moscow of failing to implement the Geneva accord, aimed to reduce tensions in eastern Ukraine.

The major powers in North America and Europe as well as Japan agreed on Saturday to impose new targeted sanctions against Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis.

"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," the G7 countries said in a joint press release.

A senior US official told the Reuters news agency that each G7 country would decide what kind of targeted sanctions it would implement. The sanctions would be coordinated between the G7 members, but the measures would not be identical, the official said.

Failed Geneva accord

The G7 countries praised Ukraine's "restraint" in the current crisis and blamed Moscow for the failure of the Geneva accord. The deal, hammered out on April 17, called for occupied buildings to be cleared and for illegal armed groups to be disarmed.

Armed pro-Russian separatists have occupied government building in several cities in eastern Ukraine, particularly Slovyansk. Five militants were shot dead by Ukrainian security forces in Slovyansk on Thursday, further exacerbating tensions between Kyiv and Moscow.

"[Russia] has not publicly supported the accord, nor condemned the acts of pro-[Russian] separatists seeking to destabilize Ukraine, nor called on armed militants to leave peacefully the government buildings they've occupied and put down their arms," the G7 said in its press release.

Threat of broader sanctions

The G7 members once again condemned as illegal Russia's annexation of Crimea. They said they were also preparing broader sanctions.

"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," they said.

The G7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US. Although they previously met with Russia in a forum called the G8, Moscow's membership was suspended after its intervention in Crimea last March.

slk/jm (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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