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G7 calls on Russia to stop attempts to change Crimea's status

Leaders of the countries making up the Group of Seven (Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, and the US), along with leaders of the European Council and the European Commission, have called on Russia "to cease all efforts to change the status of Crimea".

A joint statement issued on Wednesday said Russia would face sanctions otherwise that would be taken "individually and collectively."

The signatories repeated the West's claims that the referendum on self-determination, which the people of Crimea are expected to have next Sunday, is a "deeply flawed process which would have no moral force" because of the alleged presence of Russian forces in the region.

Also, the referendum "would have no legal effect", and therefore the G7 countries would not recognize its outcome.

The referendum would allegedly violate an assortment of bilateral and international agreements and the UN Charter and "could have grave implications for the legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states."

Along with it, the statement called on Moscow to continue working towards a diplomatic solution to the current crisis.

"We also remind the Russian Federation of our decision to suspend participation in any activities related to preparation for a G8 Sochi meeting until it changes course," the Group of Seven leaders said.

[Source: Itar Tass, Berlin, 12Mar14]

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