THE HAGUE, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations and the European Union on Monday said diplomatic avenues to de-escalate the Ukraine situation remain open, encouraging Russia to take them.
The leaders made the remarks in a statement entitled "The Hague Declaration" that was issued following their meeting here.
"We remain ready to intensify actions including coordinated sectoral sanctions that will have an increasingly significant impact on the Russian economy, if Russia continues to escalate this situation," read the statement.
The G7 leaders will not participate in the planned G8 Sochi Summit and instead they will meet again in G7 format at the same time as planned, in June this year, in Brussels, according to the statement.
"We have also advised our Foreign Ministers not to attend the April meeting in Moscow. In addition, we have decided that G7 Energy Ministers will meet to discuss ways to strengthen our collective energy security," read the statement.
Ukraine to withdraw troops from Crimea: acting president
KIEV, March 24 (Xinhua) -- The National Defence and Security Council has ordered the Defence Ministry to pull Ukrainian military forces out of Crimea, acting president Alexandr Turchynov announced here Monday.
"Ukrainian troops in Crimea have fulfilled their duties, giving the Armed Forces an opportunity and time to bring the troops in full combat readiness and start partial mobilization," Turchynov said during a meeting with lawmakers. Full story
News Analysis: U.S. weighs further options with Russia in response to Ukraine crisis
WASHINGTON, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The United States is mulling its next steps toward Russia as Moscow seems unperturbed by what many have described as tepid U.S.-imposed sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine.
The United States sharply criticized Russia for its actions in Crimea earlier this month, and U.S. President Barack Obama will head to the Netherlands next week to press European leaders to get on board with harsher sanctions on Russia while attending the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit. Full story