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G7 Condemns Russia for 'Violating' Ukraine's Statehood

U.S. Treasury Secretary Lew, right, meeting President Barack Obama, left, in the White House in 2011.

Seven countries in the Group of Eight have condemned the eighth member, Russia, for clearly "violating" international law with its military deployment in Ukraine, and they have suspended their participation in preparations for a Russia-hosted G8 summit in June.

Russia's decision to place troops around key buildings and other infrastructure in Crimea on Saturday marked a "clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, in contravention of Russia's obligations under the UN Charter and its 1997 basing agreement with Ukraine," said a statement signed by the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.S. as well as the presidents of the European Council and the European Commission.

"We note that Russia's actions in Ukraine also contravene the principles and values on which the G7 and the G8 operate," said the statement published Sunday on the White House website. "As such, we have decided for the time being to suspend our participation in activities associated with the preparation of the scheduled G8 summit in Sochi in June until the environment comes back where the G8 is able to have meaningful discussion."

The statement urged Russia to address any security or human rights concerns that it has with Ukraine through direct negotiations or through a third party such as the United Nations or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

"We stand ready to assist with these efforts," the G7 leaders said.

The Kremlin did respond immediately to the statement.

The signatories also pledged to work with the International Monetary Fund to release much-needed financial aid for cash-strapped Ukraine. An IMF team will visit Ukraine this week to start negotiations on a bailout linked to mandatory market reforms.

On Sunday, the finance ministers of the G7, meeting in Washington. also promised to offer financial aid to Ukraine, saying the transfer of power in the country provided a unique opportunity for urgently needed market reforms.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Sunday that the U.S. and its partners were ready to do whatever they could to help Ukraine recover from its economic turmoil as quickly as possible.

"I have spoken several times to the Ukrainian prime minister, who assures me that the government is prepared to take the necessary steps to build a secure economic foundation, including urgently needed market reforms that will restore financial stability, unleash economic potential, and allow Ukraine's people to better achieve their economic aspirations," Lew said in a speech in Washington.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was scheduled to fly to Kiev later Monday for a meeting with Ukraine's new leadership on Tuesday.

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