In a strongly worded press release, leaders of the G-7 countries (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 disapproved of “the continued efforts by separatists backed by Russia to destabilise eastern Ukraine”. They say it is their “commitment” to taking further steps to ensure a peaceful and stable environment for the May 25 presidential election.
The G-7 has welcomed the “positive” steps taken by Ukraine to meet its commitments under the Geneva accord of 17 April between Ukraine, Russia, the European Union, and the United States. These actions were supposed to include working towards constitutional reform and decentralisation, proposing an amnesty law for those who would peacefully leave the buildings they have seized in eastern Ukraine, and supporting the work of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). G-7 believes that the Government of Ukraine has “acted with restraint” in dealing with the armed bands illegally occupying government buildings and forming illegal checkpoints.
In contrast, the leaders of the advanced economies say, “Russia has taken no concrete actions in support of the Geneva accord. It has not publicly supported the accord, nor condemned the acts of pro-separatists seeking to destabilize Ukraine, nor called on armed militants to leave peacefully the government buildings they’ve occupied and put down their arms. Instead, it has continued to escalate tensions by increasingly concerning rhetoric and ongoing threatening military maneuvers on Ukraine’s border.”
The G-7 has reiterated its “strong condemnation of Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Crimea and Sevastopol”, which they do not recognise. The group has threatened to “follow through on the full legal and practical consequences of this illegal annexation, including but not limited to the economic, trade and financial areas”.
The G-7 has agreed to 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,” the press release reads.
Russia’s actions in Ukraine and the response from the international community already have imposed significant costs on its economy. “While we continue to prepare to move to broader, coordinated sanctions, including sectoral measures should circumstances warrant, as we committed to in The Hague on March 24, we underscore that the door remains open to a diplomatic resolution of this crisis, on the basis of the Geneva accord. We urge Russia to join us in committing to that path,” say G-7 leaders.
Things are not so black-and-white, though. People of eastern Ukraine do not approve of Kiev’s highhandedness. They feel they are the ones who are being held hostage between an extreme nationalistic parliament and a very strong Russia who still has “legitimate” interests there. They are wary of the new “reformed” Kiev Government, and not so much the Russians.
Eastern Ukraine is the economic backbone of the country, paying the bulk of federal taxes; but their economic needs are virtually ignored by Kiev. Furthermore, many are persecuted for not following the party line.
सिर्फ़ News has accessed a video with the description, “In the Ukrainian city of Donetsk, pro-Russian civilians are erecting checkpoints to protect (themselves) against supporters of Kiev coming from the west. The volunteers say they have no other choice but to safeguard the roads as tensions mount between Ukraine and Russia following Moscow’s annexation of the strategic Crimean peninsula.”