G-7 LEADERS AGREE TO ‘MOVE SWIFTLY’ TO IMPOSE NEW SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA

FoxNews on April 26, 2014, reported that the leaders of the G-7 announced they had agreed to “move swiftly” to impose new sanctions against Russia over its continued role in the unrest in Ukraine.

A statement released by the White House said the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission “have now agreed that we will move swiftly to impose additional sanctions on Russia.”

“Given the urgency of securing the opportunity for a successful and peaceful democratic vote next month in Ukraine’s presidential elections, we have committed to act urgently to intensify targeted sanctions and measures to increase the costs of Russia’s actions.”

Earlier Friday, Fox News confirmed new sanctions were expected to be announced on April 28 against Russian entities and individuals.

The G-7 statement follows Secretary of State John Kerry’s blunt charge on April 24 that Russia was not abiding by last week’s Geneva agreement to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine, and his warning “if Russia continues in this direction, it will be not just a grave mistake, it will be an expensive mistake.”

Earlier Reuters, quoting unidentified sources, said the European Union was expected to impose fresh sanctions at the same time and would name 15 previously unidentified individuals, focusing on those believed responsible for the Ukraine unrest. The sources said the U.S. list was expected to include “cronies” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A senior Obama administration official told The Associated Press that each country in the G-7 would determine their own sanctions. While the sanctions will be coordinated, they will not necessarily be identical, according to the official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and insisted on anonymity.

Tensions were heightened on the ground, with Russian fighter jets reported crossing into Ukrainian airspace and a team of unarmed foreign military observers detained by pro-Russian forces in Slovyansk, the heart of the separatist movement in the east.

Ukraine’s reaction was swift.

“The world has not yet forgotten World War II, but Russia is already keen on starting World War III,” Ukraine’s acting prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a meeting of his Cabinet.

At the United Nations, Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister, Danylo Lubkivsky said he feared an imminent Russian invasion.

“We have the information we are in danger,” Lubkivsky told reporters, saying Russian military maneuvers involving air and ground forces along the Ukraine border were a “very dangerous development.”

“We are going to protect our motherland against any invasion,” Lubkivsky said. “We call on the Russians to stop this madness.”

The heightened rhetoric came as U.S. officials reported that Russian fighter jets flew into Ukrainian airspace several times over the last 24 hours, in what one called a provocation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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