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BRUSSELS, June 5. (Itar-Tass) - Leaders of the Group of Seven most industrialized countries (G7) decided to abstain for the moment from imposing further sanctions against Russia and intend to discuss situation concerning conflict-hit Ukraine with Russian President Vladimir Putin in France this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
“At the upcoming meetings in Normandy we intend to send a signal to the Russian president concerning the necessity of de-escalation in Ukraine,” Merkel said following the first day of the G7 summit in Brussels. “If this [the de-escalation] does not take place then in the future we intend to consider again the possibility of imposing the third set of sanctions.”
The European Union jointly with the United States declared two sets of sanctions against Russia earlier in the year, particularly after the republic of Crimea seceded from Ukraine and later merged with Russia.
Speaking at a news conference late on Wednesday night, Merkel said the G7 leaders agreed to discuss three key issues with Ukrainian newly-elect President Pyotr Poroshenko and Russian President Putin in France.
Firstly, she said, the leaders intend to stress the importance that Russia must provide “measures for de-escalation in Ukraine.” Secondly, to call on the Russian authorities to begin joint work with the Ukrainian president. Thirdly, Merkel said, Russia needs to put an end to flow of volunteers and weapons to the east of Ukraine.
Asked whether further sanctions would follow against Russia, Merkel said the issue “requires extra discussions and thorough analysis of the situation.”
“We need to see the results of talks with the Russian president and evaluate the further development of the situation,” Merkel said. “Basing on this, we might gather again to discuss the issue of sanctions.”
“Today’s meeting was devoted not only to relations with Russia, but the situation in Ukraine on the whole, the constitutional reformations and provision of minorities’ rights, and we intend to look for constructive ways to settle the situation in the country,” she said commenting on the first day of the summit.
Russia is currently holding the rotating chair in the Group of Eight (G8) most industrialized countries, which besides Russia include France, the United States, Britain, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada. However, on March 24, 2014, G7 leaders announced they would not attend the Sochi Summit in Russia and would instead hold a G7 meeting in Brussels on June 4-5, 2014.
The announcement came after Putin signed on March 21 the federal constitutional law on accession of two new constituent members to the Russian Federation - the Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol.
The Russian president arrives in France on Thursday and will attend celebrations on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings of Allied forces on the Normandy coast on June 6. This will be Putin’s first visit to Western Europe after the start of the crisis in Ukraine.
Putin has repeatedly dismissed Western claims that Russia could in any way be involved in protests in Ukraine's Southeast.
Massive protests against the new Kiev authorities, propelled to power during a coup in Ukraine in February, erupted in Ukraine’s southeastern territories, mainly the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, after Crimea’s reunification with Russia following a referendum in March.
Demonstrators in the Southeast, who have been demanding Ukraine’s federalization, seized some government buildings. A punitive operation by Kiev against federalization supporters has already claimed dozens of lives, including civilian.