Moscow (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The group of G-7 is set to intensify sanctions against Russia and could already apply them in two days time, on April 28 . This was announced in a statement released yesterday by the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Great Britain, United States, and the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission. The declaration notes "increasingly concerning rhetoric and ongoing threatening military manoeuvres" and promises commitment to "ensuring a peaceful and stable environment for the presidential elections of May 25".
Meanwhile , negotiators are trying to secure the release of the 13 observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), kidnapped yesterday near Sloviansk by a pro-Russian armed group. Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, the self-proclaimed mayor of the city , said that some of them had maps that showed the separatist groups in the area, suggesting "their involvement in intelligence operations".
Russia has deployed tens of thousands of soldiers along the border with Ukraine, and said it will act if its interests were under threat. Another negative signal was U.S. reports of a Russian jet violating Ukrainian airspace.
The G7 message which appeared on the White House website, read: "We reiterate our strong condemnation of Russia's illegal attempt to annex Crimea and Sevastopol, which we do not recognize. We will now follow through on the full legal and practical consequences of this illegal annexation, including but not limited to the economic, trade and financial areas".