• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 3:27am

G7 considers new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine crisis

Invasion fears escalate as Kremlin continues military drills, warplanes reportedly violate airspace as Kiev struggles to control country's east

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 April, 2014, 9:50am
UPDATED : Sunday, 27 April, 2014, 8:41am

The Group of Seven rich countries have agreed to start slapping fresh sanctions on Moscow as early as tomorrow over the worsening Ukraine crisis amid Western fears of a Russian invasion.

Russian warplanes violated Ukraine's airspace several times on Thursday and Friday and may have been part of an effort to test Ukraine's radar, the Pentagon said. The air incursions took place as tens of thousands of Russian troops, massed on Ukraine's southern and eastern borders for weeks, began military drills announced on Thursday.

One Western diplomat warned: "We no longer exclude a Russian military intervention in Ukraine in the coming days." The diplomatic source noted that Russia's United Nations envoy, Vitaly Churkin, "has been recalled urgently to Moscow" for consultations.

In eastern Ukraine, Kiev's Western-backed coup-installed government is waging an offensive against pro-Moscow rebels holding a string of towns. A 13-member military observer team sent into Ukraine by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to monitor an April 17 Geneva accord designed to de-escalate the situation was being held hostage by rebels in the town of Slavyansk.

Yesterday, the separatists invited journalists from Russian media into the building where the observers are being held, and showed military identification cards and military insignia they said were taken from the detainees. That, the separatists said, was proof that they were not observers but were spying for Nato.

Russia's envoy to the OSCE said Moscow would take all steps to free the observers, Russian news agencies reported.

US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Malaysia with President Barack Obama, spoke of "a spectrum of sanctions" that "allows us to escalate further" if the situation deteriorates.

He said sanctions were possible on individuals with influence in specific sectors of the Russian economy, such as energy and banking. "When you start to get at the cronies, the individuals who frankly control large parts of the Russia economy, and some of the entities under their control, you are imposing a significant economic impact beyond strictly sanctioning an individual," Rhodes said.

In a joint statement released on Friday night by the White House, the G7 nations said they would act urgently to intensify "targeted sanctions". The White House said US sanctions could be levied as early as tomorrow.

The G7 consists of the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

European Union foreign ministers are also to meet soon to discuss the issue.

The United States and the EU have already targeted Russian President Vladimir Putin's inner circle with visa and asset freezes and imposed sanctions on a key Russian bank.

Obama on Friday said that new sanctions against Russia were "ready to go" but had signalled they would not target key areas of the Russian economy such as the mining, energy and the financial sectors. US officials have said those measures would only be considered if Russia sent its regular forces into Ukraine.

The G7 communiqué did not give details of what form the new sanctions would take, but they appeared to mark a significant ratcheting up of the visa bans and asset freezes already imposed.

Putin last week said the sanctions were causing difficulties for Russia, though he said the impact was not "critical".

Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, Reuters


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This article is now closed to comments

It is a war of words, it will depend on who is better able to distort the facts to manipulate readers or audience. The facts can be twisted by any party in the conflict without further proof to suit their agenda.
Again, even President Putin decides to intervene in the conflict in the eastern provinces of Ukraine to protect, as President Putin claimed, Russian speaking people. President Obama’s or EU’s options in Ukraine are limited, not much more than verbal warnings. EU or US imposed travel bans and asset freezes on people whom close to the President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. I don’t think that Russia will be deterred as long as China does not favor any party or go along with the U.S. and EU.

It would be hard for either China or Russia to be a friend of the United States when the US tries to contain China and Russia so relentlessly to the extent that nothing short of total subservience under the thumb of US will do. I don’t think that will be EU or US best interest if China and Russia together with Brazil, Uzbekistan, and possible India decide to form an economic bloc during Putin's visit to China in May to counter-balance of EU or US.
Jennie PC Chiang/江佩珍 04/26/14 美國
Whatever sanctions on the table is completely useless...as long as china is with Russia ... Putin will not give a d.ouche bag about your threat
There is a limit to tolerance and if push comes to shove, Putin will exercise his rights to protect his Russian speaking ppl and liberate eastern part of Ukraine and double down trade with china and others in Asia
There are options for Putin ...
How About
Crimea is unfortunately dead smack in the crosshair of the original Heartland Theory so it's very must-win situation that the USA wants to subvert. You need only to check out the Economists' Insatiable to get a hang of it.
The pitfall and the message from these sanctions Putin conceded are now hurting- was that Russia allowed total integration with the European and EU nearly in all aspects of trades- when G7 puts in sanctions including visa and mastercards, bank accounts freezing, they felt screwed. Therefore Russia and China possibly including BRICs should have their own independent system in place and to avoid total capitulation (integration) with the West, in commerce, banking and trades.
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