G7 to impose fresh sanctions on Russia over Ukraine
The self-styled mayor of Luhansk region Valery Bolotov (L, with microphone) speaks during a rally in front of the seized office of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine Reuters

The leaders of the G7 countries have agreed to impose more sanctions on Russia over the ongoing Ukraine crisis.

The Group of Seven (G7) nations comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and US have said they will "move swiftly" in tightening the screws with a new round of sanctions on Moscow to put Kremlin under more pressure.

"Given the urgency of securing the opportunity for a successful and peaceful democratic vote next month in Ukraine's presidential elections, we have committed to act urgently to intensify targeted sanctions," the group said in a joint press release.

The latest clampdown has come hours after US President Barack Obama threatened Moscow with new sanctions over the crisis.

Reports suggest that each of the seven countries will determine their own targeted sanctions on Russia which need not be exactly the same.

"We believe that these sanctions will have a significant impact. There was quick agreement about the need to move forward with sequences of steps. The sequence that was agreed to in the leaders' call last night was that the G7 would express its support for targeted sanctions against Russia. The US and EU would move out on their own," US Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes told Reuters.

The measures are expected to be announced as early as Monday (28 April) morning.

Following a conference call with the leaders of the US, the UK, France, and Italy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to hold talks with EU authorities to discuss further steps in the matter.

Merkel said: "Given the absence of progress, we have to think about - and not just think about, but act on - the option of new sanctions. For this purpose, European Union foreign ministers will meet as soon as possible."

Russia's military buildup and the ongoing drills near the bordering region with Ukraine have been strongly condemned by Western powers. The West has said Moscow intends to militarily intervene in Ukraine, a claim Russia denies.