G-20 News

G-7 pledges to toughen sanctions on Russia and unite in support of Ukraine

G7 foreign ministers pledged on Saturday to step up economic sanctions against Russia over its military aggression against Ukraine and to stand together in support of the Ukrainian people.

In a joint statement released after their three-day talks in Weissenhaus, northern Germany, the G-7 also agreed to take steps to mitigate the repercussions of the war such as disruptions in energy supplies and food and to accelerate efforts to gradually eliminate their dependence on Russia. energy resources.

“We reaffirm our determination to further increase economic and political pressure on Russia, continuing to act in unity,” said G-7 ministers from the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Russia. Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the European Union. statement.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks during a news conference after the meeting of foreign ministers of G7 member states at Schlossgut Weissenhaus on May 14, 2022 near Oldenburg in Holstein, Germany. (Getty/Kyodo)

“We will expand our sanctions measures to include sectors on which Russia is particularly dependent,” they added.

The G-7 ministers also stressed that they are “unwavering” in their solidarity with Ukraine and their support, and that they will continue their military assistance “as long as necessary”.

The seven major democracies have already implemented various punitive measures, including freezing the assets of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the country’s central bank, as well as excluding some major Russian lenders from a known key international payment network. under the SWIFT name.

As a latest effort, G-7 leaders last Sunday declared their commitment to phasing out their dependence on Russian oil in their latest attempt to put more pressure on Moscow, which launched military attacks on Ukraine on 24 february.

The G-7 foreign ministers said they will accelerate their efforts to “reduce and end dependence on Russian energy supplies as quickly as possible”, and that they will accelerate the energy transition and improve energy efficiency.

Russia is one of the world’s leading exporters of oil and gas, while Ukraine is a major producer of grains such as wheat and corn. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters ahead of the three-day talks that a Russian blockade on the Black Sea was preventing the shipment of 25 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain.

“We reaffirm our commitment to protect the most vulnerable countries and people who are suffering from Russia’s war against Ukraine and its global repercussions,” the statement said.

In a separate statement, the G-7 called on China not to “assist” Russia, “undermine” ongoing sanctions and “justify” Russian actions.

They also reiterated the need to maintain a “free and open” Indo-Pacific region, a vision advocated by Tokyo and Washington and widely seen as a counterbalance to Beijing’s growing military and economic influence in the region.

The meeting was intended to lay the groundwork for a G-7 summit scheduled for June 26-28 at Schloss Elmau, a seaside resort in southern Germany.

Ministers from Ukraine and its neighbor Moldova, which has taken in a flood of refugees from the war-torn country, took part in part of the talks.

Moldova is concerned about the fallout from the Russian invasion on Transnistria, a pro-Moscow separatist region in its eastern part bordering Ukraine.

G-7 foreign policy chiefs expressed concern over “recent attempts to destabilize” the Moldovan region, in apparent condemnation of Russian-backed militants, and underlined their support for “stability, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Moldova”.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi also took part in part of the online talks, as the Southeast Asian nation hosts meetings of the Group of 20 major economies this year, which includes Russia as well as China and the G-7 countries.