G7 keeps possibility of tougher Russian sanctions on the table

BRUSSELS Wed Jun 4, 2014 5:49pm EDT

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Group of Seven leaders said on Wednesday they remain prepared to slap tougher sanctions on Russia, despite a successful election in Ukraine, if unrest in the east of the country is not brought under control.

"We stand ready to intensify targeted sanctions and to consider meaningful additional restrictive measures to impose further costs on Russia should events so require," the leaders said in a joint statement after evening talks in Brussels.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a news conference that the West would check "again and again" to see if there was progress in calming eastern Ukraine where government forces are battling separatists.

"We cannot afford a further detribalization in Ukraine," she said. "If we do not have progress in the questions we have to solve there is the possibility of sanctions, even heavy sanctions of phase 3 on the table."

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