WASHINGTON, July 30 (UPI) -- In a joint statement issued Wednesday, G7 members expressed their "grave concern" about Russian aggression toward neighboring Ukraine.
The G7 condemned efforts to undermine Ukraine's sovereign territorial integrity through its illegal annexation of Crimea and its de-stabilizing actions in eastern Ukraine, and also condemned the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 by Russian-backed separatists.
Noting that the downing of MH17 "should have marked a watershed in this conflict, causing Russia to suspend its support for illegal armed groups in Ukraine ... Regrettably, however, Russia has not changed course."
In an effort "to demonstrate to the Russian leadership that it must stop its support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine," G7 members announced coordinated sanctions against Russia this week.
The European Union, Obama noted, "is cutting off certain financing to state-owned banks in Russia. In the energy sector, the EU will stop exporting specific goods and technologies to Russia, which will make it more difficult for Russia to develop its oil resources over the long term. In the defense sector, the EU is prohibiting new arms imports and exports and is halting the export of sensitive technology to Russia's military users."
The G7 reiterated its call for a political solution to the crisis and urged all parties to observe a cease-fire coordinated by the OSCE and the Trilateral Contact Group.
Russia, the group underlined, must de-escalate the crisis by using its influence, and called upon Russia to "choose the path of de-escalation..."
-- Use its influence with the separatists in eastern Ukraine to support a cease-fire;
-- Suspend its support for illegal armed groups in Ukraine;
-- Secure its border with Ukraine;
-- Stop the increasing flow of weapons, equipment, and militants across the border.
In the event Russia fails to respond appropriately, "we remain ready to further intensify the costs of its adverse actions," the G7 concluded.
The G7 is comprised of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.