G7 powers warn Russia of tougher sanctions over Ukraine

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The leaders of the world's major developed economies have condemned Russia's actions to destabilize Ukraine and warned of tougher sanctions if it fails to de-escalate tensions in the region.

"We once again condemn Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, and actions to de-stabilize eastern Ukraine. Those actions are unacceptable and violate international law," the G7 countries said in a joint statement here.

A day after US and European Union slapped sanctions on Russia, the G7 countries -- comprising Britain, France, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US -- said Moscow still has the opportunity to choose the path of de-escalation, which would lead to the removal of these sanctions.

"If it does not do so, however, we remain ready to further intensify the costs of its adverse actions."

The G7 condemned the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 allegedly by pro-Russia rebels and the deaths of 298 innocent civilians. The group demanded "a prompt, full, unimpeded, and transparent international investigation."

The group called upon all sides to respect a ceasefire at and around the crash site, as demanded by a UNSC resolution.

The G7 said the terrible event should have marked a watershed in the Ukraine conflict, causing Russia to stop arming rebels across the border.

"Regrettably, however, Russia has not changed course."

This week, the G7 have announced additional coordinated sanctions on Russia, including sanctions on specific companies operating in key sectors of the Russian economy.

"We believe it is essential to demonstrate to the Russian leadership that it must stop its support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine and tangibly participate in creating the necessary conditions for the political process," the group said.

The G7 countries called for a peaceful settlement of the crisis in Ukraine and underlined the need to implement Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's peace plan.

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