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G7 Ready To Strengthen Sanctions Against Russia

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left) gestures while chatting with U.S. President Barack Obama sitting on a bench outside the Elmau Castle after a working session of a G7 summit near Garmisch-Partenkirchen on June 8.

The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) summit of major economic powers have warned Russia that they stand ready to toughen sanctions over Moscow's role in the Ukraine conflict.

The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States issued the warning in a joint statement at the end of a two-day summit in the Bavarian Alps on June 8

The statement said the duration of sanctions should be "clearly linked to Russia's complete implementation of the Minsk agreements and respect for Ukraine's sovereignty."

It added that the leaders "stand ready to take further restrictive measures in order to increase cost on Russia should its actions so require."

A cease-fire agreement reached in Minsk in February has been shaky, with the heaviest fighting in months breaking out in Ukraine's east last week between Ukrainian government forces and Russian-backed separatists.

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