G7 calls on Russia to halt efforts to change Crimea's status
Italy and partners urge Russia to cease breaking law12 March, 14:28
The statement from the seven nations - Italy, the US, Canada, Japan, Britain, France and Germany - urged Russia "to cease all efforts to change the status of Crimea contrary to Ukrainian law and in violation of international law".
It also said that a referendum scheduled over the weekend would have "no legal effect" and that further action will be taken if Russia attempts to annex Crimea.
Pro-Russian leaders in Crimea, which has a large Russian-speaking population, have organized a referendum on Sunday on whether Crimea should join Russia.
Moscow's troops are in control of the Black Sea peninsula and the seizure has so far been bloodless.