The G7 announced the group is ready to impose more sanctions against Russia if Moscow does not stop antagonizing Ukraine or help end the violence by the pro-Russian forces.
“We stand ready to intensify targeted sanctions and to consider significant additional restrictive measures to impose further costs on Russia should events so require,” the group said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, one of the few Western leaders with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ear, said the next targets are trade, finance, and energy.
“We cannot afford a further destabilization in Ukraine,” Merkel said. “If we do not have progress in the questions we have to solve there is the possibility of sanctions, even heavy sanctions of phase 3 on the table.”
The US and European Union have imposed sanctions that include travel bans and asset freezes. The EU, though, has been more hesitant to strike Russia’s profitable sectors since Europe receives 30% of its gas from Russia and the majority of the pipelines run through Ukraine. In the last round of sanctions, Obama placed sanctions on Igor Sechin, Putin’s right-hand man and the president of Rosneft, which is Russia’s largest petroleum company that has contracts with ExxonMobil and British Petroleum (BP). In fact, BP has 20% shares in Rosneft.
This G7 summit in Brussels, Belgium, was actually supposed to be the G8 summit in Sochi, Russia. Due to Russia’s hostility toward Ukraine and annexing of Crimea the group decided to kick Russia out and move the meeting to Brussels. It is the first time in the 17 years, since Russia joined, it was not present at the annual summit.