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G7 leaders urge Russia to stop undermining democracies

LA MALBAIE, Quebec - Leaders of the Group of Seven countries urged Russia on Saturday to stop undermining democracies and said they were ready to step up sanctions against Moscow if necessary.

The leaders of the United States, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Britain made the strongly worded statement just hours after US President Donald Trump, who is part of the G7, said he wanted Moscow re-invited to the group.

"We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing behavior, to undermine democratic systems and its support of the Syrian regime," the leaders said in a statement at the end of their two-day meeting in La Malbaie, Quebec.

The G7 leaders condemned an attack in Salisbury in Britain on a former Russian spy using a Russian-made military grade nerve agent, saying it was highly likely Moscow was responsible because there was no other plausible explanation. Russia denies having anything to do with the attack.

The G7 leaders made a commitment on Friday, without naming Russia, to share information between themselves and work with internet service providers and social media companies to thwart foreign meddling in elections. The Kremlin has denied allegations by the United States and some European countries that Russia interfered in their elections.

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