Obama says Russian troops operating in Ukraine, sanctions biting

Mon Jun 8, 2015 10:37am EDT
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KRUEN, Germany, June 8 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday that Russian forces continue to operate in eastern Ukraine despite Moscow's denials and the world's major industrial democracies stood ready to impose significantly tougher sanctions if necessary.

Obama told a news conference after a Group of Seven industrial nations' summit in Germany that existing sanctions would remain in place until Moscow and Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine fully respected a ceasefire agreement negotiated in Minsk in February.

"As we've seen again in recent days, Russian forces continue to operate in eastern Ukraine, violating Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said.

"Russia is in deep recession. So Russia's actions in Ukraine are hurting Russia and hurting the Russian people," Obama said. "And the G7 is making it clear that if necessary we stand ready to impose additional significant sanctions against Russia." (Writing by Paul Taylor; Editing by Paul Carrel)