WASHINGTON, April 25 (Xinhua) -- The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized nations agreed Friday night to impose more sanctions on Russia over its "inaction" in easing the tension in eastern Ukraine.
"We have now agreed that we will move swiftly to impose additional sanctions on Russia," said a joint statement issued by leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, plus the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission.
The announcement came as Moscow staged military drills on the joint border with Ukraine Thursday, responding to Kiev's "anti-terror" operation that resulted in the deaths of five pro-Moscow protesters.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday it was Kiev not implementing the agreement, and that Moscow had been eager to assist in the de-escalation of tension as agreed in last week's Geneva deal.
The minister accused the West of attempting to "capture" Ukraine for geopolitical ambitions, rather than the interests of the Ukrainian people.
In Friday's announcement, the G7 nations urged Russia to join efforts to seek a "diplomatic resolution" of the crisis, threatening "broader, coordinated sanctions," including sectoral measures, in the event of further "destabilizing" moves from Russia.
The United States and EU had hit dozens of Russians and pro-Russia Ukrainians, including close allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin, with travel bans and asset freezes following Moscow's annexation of Crimea last month.
However, the 28-member bloc remains divided over full trade and economic sanctions against Russia, considering the huge gas supplies from the country and their broad economic ties.
PARIS, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Russia should do more to contribute to violence de-escalation in Ukraine where "a democratic transition should be implemented via free elections," leaders of top European countries and the United States said on Friday.
In a communique released by France's president office, the Elysee, Francois Hollande, his American counterpart Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and British Prime Minister David Cameron called on Russia to respect its commitment to ease tensions in Ukraine in line with Geneva accord. Full story
LONDON, April 25 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday discussed the ongoing crisis in Ukraine with U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in a phone call, a Downing Street spokesperson said.
"The five leaders welcomed the efforts by the Ukrainian government to implement the Geneva agreement, including cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and working towards constitutional reform and decentralization," a Downing Street spokesperson said in a statement following the phone call.Full story
UNITED NATIONS, April 25 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged on Friday all parties involved in the Ukraine crisis to honor their commitments under the Geneva Statement, calling for an immediate halt of violence in Ukraine and practical steps to de- escalate the tension.
At a daily news briefing here, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said: "The secretary-general is alarmed by the continued violence and loss of life in eastern Ukraine. The instability is contributing to a climate of fear and anxiety that can lead to a dangerous cycle of escalating tensions and serious miscalculations."Full story
MINSK, April 25 (Xinhua) -- The West and Russia should both calm down to stabilize situation in Ukraine, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Friday, underscoring the need for a credible leadership to further set the course for Ukraine.
People trusted no one in Ukraine as "they have been cheated and betrayed many times," the president said. "Today there is a need for a person, a group of people who could tell people what they are going to do, which path they are going to choose."Full story