WASHINGTON, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Group of 7 world leaders said Wednesday that they would not recognize the results of a referendum for Ukraine's Crimea region.
The leaders called on Russia to "immediately" halt actions supporting the referendum on Crimea regarding its status, said a statement issued by the White House.
"Given the lack of adequate preparation and the intimidating presence of Russian troops, it would also be a deeply flawed process which would have no moral force," said the statement, adding that "any such referendum would have no legal effect."
On March 6, Crimea's Supreme Council decided to hold a referendum on March 16, instead of March 30 decided previously, on whether to join Russia or remain part of Ukraine as an autonomous republic.
The annexation of Crimea could have "grave implications" for the legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states, said the leaders, warning that they would take further action if Russia takes such a step.` In addition, the leaders urged Russia to work with other countries through diplomatic processes to resolve the current crisis and support progress for a sovereign "independent, inclusive and united" Ukraine.
The statement was issued on behalf of leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, the U.S., as well as the European Council and the European Commission.
The Ukraine crisis, which originated from protests against former President Viktor Yanukovych's decision last November to abandon an association agreement with the European Union for Russian aid, took an abrupt turn in the past two weeks following bloody clashes between protesters and police. Yanukovych was ousted and then forced to flee Kiev.
Crimea, host to Russia's Black Sea Fleet, has been at the epicenter of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine since Yanukovych's ouster by parliament on Feb. 22.