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G-7 to meet on Ukraine in Washington

Finance Ministers of the Group of Seven industrial powers plan to meet in Washington Thursday to discuss Ukraine amid rising worries that Russia wants to further splinter the country.

Diplomatic sources told AFP that the meeting of the group will take place ahead of a G20 finance minister and central banker meeting in Washington, timed to coincide with the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

The group — Canada, the United States, Italy, Japan, Germany, France and Britain — could discuss other issues, but Ukraine, and the economic impact of the crisis, will be the main topic, the sources said.

In late March the same countries pulled out of a meeting planned in Sochi, Russia for the G8 — the G7 plus Russia — to signal their anger over its annexation of Crimea.

On Tuesday, Washington accused Moscow of deliberately fomenting pro-Russia secession protests in the eastern part of the country, where the majority of people are Russian-speaking.

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday explicitly accused the Kremlin of sending operatives into eastern Ukraine in order to foment unrest.

“Everything that we’ve seen in the last 48 hours, from Russian provocateurs and agents operating in eastern Ukraine, tells us that they’ve been sent there determined to create chaos,” Kerry told US lawmakers.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague backed up that message by noting the flareup bore “all the hallmarks of a Russian strategy to destabilize Ukraine”.