As Tensions Boil, G7 Throws Fresh Sanctions at Russia

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As Tensions Boil, G7 Throws Fresh Sanctions at Russia

Announcement comes as Geneva agreement unravels

Ukrainian security force officers walk past a checkpoint set on fire and left by pro-Russian separatists near the separatist-held city Slaviansk. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

Ukrainian security force officers walk past a checkpoint set on fire and left by pro-Russian separatists near the separatist-held city Slaviansk. (Photo: Gleb Garanich/Reuters)

Group of Seven nations on Saturday vowed to impose 'swift' new sanctions on Russia due to the country's alleged backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine—ratcheting up tensions and drawing more countries into the war of rhetoric.

The announcement by the G7—which represents some of the world's biggest economic superpowers—came the day after European military observers in Slavyansk were captured by alleged pro-Russian separatists. 

In a statement announcing the sanctions, the UK, U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Canada issued their "strong condemnation of Russia's illegal attempt to annex Crimea and Sevastopol, which we do not recognize."

They accuse Russia of failing to comply an agreement reached in Geneva last week for armed groups to lay down their weapons and occupied public spaces to be vacated.

The statement praises the Ukrainian government for acting "with restraint in dealing with the armed bands illegally occupying government buildings and forming illegal checkpoints."

This is despite the fact that the Ukrainian government this week escalated its military offensive in Eastern Ukraine and Ukrainian security forces shot and killed up to five separatist on Thursday.

The G7 nations say the sanctions are "including but not limited to the economic, trade and financial areas."

The announcement of new sanctions pulls Canada and Japan into the threats levied Friday by the U.S., Germany, France, Italy, and the UK that more sanctions are on the horizon.

It immediately follows statements by Ukraine's interim Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk that the crisis could be on the cusp of World War III.

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