West says Russia still arming Ukraine separatists, urges sanctions

28th July 2014, Comments 0 comments

Swift new sanctions against Russia are needed to stop it from arming separatists in Ukraine and destabilising the country, the United States, Germany, France, Britain and Italy agreed on Monday.

Leaders of the five countries spoke by phone and agreed the international community should "impose further costs" on Russia and that the EU should draw up "a strong package of sectoral sanctions as swiftly as possible", Britain said in a statement.

Russia has continued to transfer weapons to separatists in Ukraine since a Malaysia airlines flight was shot down on July 17, killing 298 people and causing international outcry, Britain, Germany and the United States said.

Eastern Ukraine has been the scene of fierce battles between pro-Kremlin separatists and the army, and clashes in the vast area where the plane crashed have prevented international investigators accessing the site.

President Barack Obama, Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Francois Hollande, Prime Minister David Cameron and Prime Minister Matteo Renzi "confirmed... their intention to adopt new measures against Russia," according to the French presidency.

The White House said the five had "agreed on the importance of coordinated sanctions measures on Russia for its continued transfer of arms, equipment and fighters into eastern Ukraine."

It said sanctions were needed "to press Russia to end its efforts to destabilise the country and instead choose a diplomatic path for resolving the crisis."

The British prime minister's office said that Russia "continues to transfer weapons across the border and to provide practical support to the separatists."

"The EU and United States should work together to exert pressure on Russia to change course and to engage in a political resolution to the crisis before more innocent lives are lost," the statement said.

Germany noted that sanctions should "put pressure on Russia without further destabilising Ukraine, and allow a diplomatic solution to the crisis."

© 2014 AFP

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