As the G7 nations prepared new sanctions for Russia, Ukrainian separatists detained independent military observers on suspicion of being "NATO spies"
The United States and other G7 countries announced “broader, coordinated” economic sanctions to be imposed on Russia Friday, while Russia negotiates the release of military observers detained by separatists in the eastern part of Ukraine.
In a statement, the G7 leaders praised Ukraine for taking steps to meet the de-escalation agreement brokered in Geneva two weeks ago, while condemning Russia for neither taking appropriate steps nor castigating the actions of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
“We have now agreed that we will move swiftly to impose additional sanctions on Russia,” leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States said in a statement.
“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 sanctions could begin as early as Monday, the Associated Press reports.
Meanwhile, negotiators worked Saturday to secure the release of 13 visitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) detained by Russian separatists, including eight from a German-led party and five Ukrainians, ABC reports.
Russia said it would do all it can to release the detainees, according to state media. “Russia as a member of the OSCE will undertake all possible steps in this matter,” Russia’s OSCE envoy Andrei Kelin said.
A separatist leader in Donetsk, Denis Pushilin, announced his group would be willing to release a group of detained military observers it suspected of being NATO spies in exchange for the release of jailed pro-Russian supporters, the AP reports.