Zimbabwe is denouncing a proposed set of U.N. sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and other top officials as a racist plot.

The country's information minister, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, says the proposed sanctions are part of an effort by Western nations to force Mr. Mugabe from power and install a puppet government.

The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote this week on a resolution that includes a tougher arms embargo against Zimbabwe and financial and travel restrictions against Mr. Mugabe and 13 other officials believed responsible for election-related violence.

Zimbabwe has been facing growing international criticism over the violence leading to the June 27 presidential runoff vote won by Mr. Mugabe, the only candidate.  Leaders at the summit of the world's eight leading industrialized nations in Japan issued a statement Tuesday rejecting the run-off vote as illegitimate.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says there should be "no safe haven and no hiding place" for the Mugabe government, which he describes as a criminal cabal.

But Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says the Group of Eight statement did not mean Zimbabwe would face any sanctions.  Russia and South Africa oppose the proposed U.N. resolution.

Zimbabwe has been embroiled in political turmoil since the March 29 presidential election.  A long-delayed official count of ballots said opposition Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change finished first but fell short of a majority, so a run-off was required. 

Tsvangirai pulled out of the run-off vote a few days before the election following violence against his supporters. Tsvangirai said the violence was state-sponsored.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.