Leaders of the Group of 7 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States) have agreed to keep sanctions against Russia in place as long as Russia continues to violate the cease-fire agreed to in meetings in Minsk, Belarus, President Obama said.
“The G7 is making it clear that, if necessary, we stand ready to impose additional, significant sanctions against Russia,” Obama said June 8 at the conclusion of a two-day meeting with other leaders at Schloss Elmau, Germany. The leaders discussed economic, security and development priorities, including standing up to Russian aggression in Ukraine.
G7 leaders expressed concern over the recent increase in fighting and urged Russia to halt its support to the separatists and influence them to fully implement the Minsk agreements made in September 2014 and February 2015. The leaders reiterated their condemnation of Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea and their refusal to recognize the peninsula as part of Russia.
“This is now the second year in a row that the G7 has met without Russia — another example of Russia’s isolation — and every member of the G7 continues to maintain sanctions on Russia for its aggression against Ukraine,” Obama said.
Obama noted Russia’s weakened economy: The ruble and foreign investment have dropped, while inflation has increased. The Russian central bank has expended more than $150 billion in reserves, and Russian energy companies and banks are struggling, cut off from key technologies and financing.
“Russia’s actions in Ukraine are hurting Russia and hurting the Russian people,” the president said.
Obama added that the G7 remains strongly united in its support for Ukraine. G7 leaders welcomed Ukraine’s progress on reforms and agreed to continue working with international financial institutions to provide economic support and technical assistance to help Ukraine.
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