With Russia outside the tent, G7 takes aim at Moscow

Thu Jun 5, 2014 12:14pm EDT
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* G7 says ready to impose tougher sanctions on Russia over Ukraine

* Western leaders, Japan call on Putin to restore stability

* Russia also criticised over Syria and on energy policy

* France to go ahead with sale of warships to Moscow

By Luke Baker and Jeff Mason

BRUSSELS, June 5 (Reuters) - The United States and its allies used the first Group of Seven meeting without Russia in 17 years to condemn Moscow's actions in Ukraine and threaten hard-hitting sanctions if President Vladimir Putin does not help restore stability.

Meeting in Brussels rather than the Black Sea resort of Sochi - a snub to Russia which was supposed to have hosted the G8 - Western powers and Japan delivered strong rhetoric, even if the EU's commitment to further sanctions remains in doubt.

"We are united in condemning the Russian Federation's continuing violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Britain, Italy and Canada said in a joint statement.

"Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, and actions to destabilize eastern Ukraine, are unacceptable and must stop."   Continued...