U.S. President Barack Obama meets with European leaders to discuss the situation in Ukraine, at the G20 in Brisbane November 16, 2014. Pictured are: (L-R) Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, French President Francois Hollande, Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with European leaders to discuss the situation in Ukraine, at the G20 in Brisbane November 16, 2014. Pictured are: (L-R) Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, French President Francois Hollande, Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

(Reuters) – Leaders from the G20 group of nations agreed on Sunday to boost flagging global growth, tackle climate change and crack down on tax avoidance but ties between the West and Russia plummeted to a new low over the crisis in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin left the G20 summit in Brisbane early as U.S. President Barack Obama accused Russia of invading Ukraine and Britain warned of a possible “frozen conflict” in Europe.

Several Western nations warned Russia of further sanctions if it did not withdraw troops and weapons from Ukraine.

“I think President Putin can see he is at a crossroads,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron. “If he continues to destabilize Ukraine there will be further sanctions, further measures.

“There is a cost to sanctions, but there would be a far greater cost in allowing a frozen conflict on the continent of Europe to be created and maintained.”

Obama said Russia’s isolation was unavoidable.

“We would prefer a Russia that is fully integrated with the global economy,” he told a news conference.

“But we are also very firm on the need to uphold core international principles…. you don’t invade other countries or finance proxies and support them in ways that break up a country that has mechanisms for democratic elections.”

Before leaving the G20 Summit, Putin said a solution to the Ukraine crisis was possible, but did not elaborate.

Written by: LINCOLN FEAST and ALEXEI ANISHCHUK- continue at REUTERS

 

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