President Obama says that the the G7 states are willing to impose further sanctions on Russia.
Speaking at the G7 summit in Bavaria, Germany, on Monday, Obama claimed that there is significant political will to step up the sanctions if Russia and Vladimir Putin do not stick to the terms of the Minsk agreement over the conflict in Ukraine, according to RT.
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Further sanctions possible
“There is strong consensus that we need to keep pushing Russia to abide by the Mink agreement,”Obama said. There are also plans to ensure that Kiev also abides by the terms of the Minsk deal.
“There was discussion of additional steps,” if Russia “doubles the aggression on Ukraine”, but for the moment they remain technical discussions and not political ones, according to Obama.
“Our hope is that we don’t have to take additional steps,” he said. Obama believes that the sanctions are having their desired effect of impacting the Russian economy.
“Does he continue to wreck his country’s economy and continue Russia’s isolation in pursuit of a wrong-headed desire to recreate glories of the Soviet empire, or does he recognize that Russia’s greatness does not depend on violating the territorial integrity and sovereignty of other countries?” he continued.
G7 leaders unite against Russia?
A joint statement released by the G7 leaders said “that the duration of sanctions should be clearly linked to Russia’s complete implementation of the Minsk agreements and respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty.”
However some observers claim that U.S. rhetoric is influencing Western politicians. Investigative journalist Tony Gosling claims that the U.S. is driving rhetoric about a need to unite against Russia. “This is our old Cold War talk, that is really driven by the Americans, and it certainly does not represent the views of European people or business, which is a bit worrying,” he said.
The Minsk agreement has been violated by both Russia and Ukraine, with fierce fighting reported last week from the area around Donetsk in the east of Ukraine. The situation continues to deteriorate, and over 6,000 people have already died in the fighting. Tensions continue to rise as aggressive rhetoric from both sides becomes increasingly common.