The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) states have threatened Russia with tougher sanctions if Moscow continues to oppose the de-escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
They said this in a joint statement released by the press service of the German government, a Ukrinform correspondent in Germany reported.
“Russia still has the opportunity to choose the path of de-escalation, which would lead to the removal of these sanctions. If it does not do so, however, we remain ready to further intensify the costs of its adverse actions,” reads the statement by the heads of state and government of Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Canada, Britain, and the United States, as well as the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission.
“Regrettably however, Russia has not changed course. This week, we have all announced additional coordinated sanctions on Russia, including sanctions on specific companies operating in key sectors of the Russian economy. We believe it is essential to demonstrate to the Russian leadership that it must stop its support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine and tangibly participate in creating the necessary conditions for the political process,” reads the document.
G7 countries are still convinced that there must be a political solution to the current conflict, which is causing rising numbers of civilian casualties.
“We call for a peaceful settlement of the crisis in Ukraine, and underline the need to implement President Poroshenko’s peace plan without any further delay,” reads the statement.
In this regard, the leaders of the Group of Seven countries urged all parties to establish a swift, genuine and sustainable general cease-fire on the basis of the Berlin Declaration of July 2 with the aim of maintaining Ukraine’s territorial integrity. To do so, they said, Russia should use its influence with the separatist groups and ensure effective border control, including through OSCE observers. G7 also supports the OSCE and the Trilateral Contact Group as central players in creating the conditions for a ceasefire.
The Group of Seven again expressed “grave concern about Russia’s continued actions to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence” and also condemned “Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, and actions to de-stabilize eastern Ukraine.”
“Those actions are unacceptable and violate international law,” reads the document.
The heads of state or government of the G7 countries condemned 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,” reads the statement.
Western leaders also called upon all sides to establish, maintain and fully respect a cease-fire at and around the crash site, as demanded by UN Security Council resolution 2166, so that the investigators can take up their work and to recover the remains of all victims and their personal possessions.
According to the statement, this terrible event should have marked a watershed in this conflict, causing Russia to suspend its support for illegal armed groups in Ukraine, secure its border with Ukraine, and stop the increasing flow of weapons, equipment and militants across the border in order to achieve rapid and tangible results in de-escalation.