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US demands strong message from G7 to Russia

US demands strong message from G7 to Russia
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Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived at the Hague representing President Vladimir Putin at a nuclear security summit in the Dutch city.

But it is his country’s annexation of Crimea which has dominated an informal G7 meeting held on the sidelines of the summit

It is the start of a four day visit to Europe by President Barack Obama during which he will urge EU leaders to get tougher on Moscow.

The White House has confirmed the president wants G7 leaders to send a strong message that Russia would face further costs by escalating the crisis in Ukraine.

In a meeting with President Barack Obama, China’s President Xi Jinping told the US leader Beijing wants a de-escalation in Ukraine and a political solution.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he is “absolutely clear” there will not be a G8 summit in Russia this year.

Washington and Brussels have both slapped travel bans and asset freezes on senior Russian officials but there is a split on how far either side is willing to go.

Our correspondent, James Franey at the Hague said: “It is a delicate balancing act that Mr. Obama and his fellow leader have to perform. On one hand, they want diplomatic channels to remain open in the hope they can convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to loosen his grip on Crimea.

“On the other Washington wants tougher measures to isolate Russia politically and economically in the hope of preventing any further incursions into Ukraine.”