De-Escalate, G7 Tells Russia

Foreign ministers condemn military buildup at Ukraine border
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 12, 2021 9:35 AM CST
G7 Warns Russia to Stand Down
G7 foreign ministers pose for a photo Sunday in Liverpool. From left are Italy's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Marina Sereni, German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Svenja Schulze, Phillippines Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro L Locsin Jr., Germany's Foreign Minister...   (Olivier Douliery/Pool via AP)

The Group of Seven economic powers told Russia on Sunday to "de-escalate" its military buildup near the Ukrainian border, warning that an invasion would inflict severe economic pain on Moscow. G7 foreign ministers, joined by the European Union's foreign affairs chief, issued a joint statement declaring themselves "united in our condemnation of Russia's military buildup and aggressive rhetoric towards Ukraine." The G7 called on Russia to "de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels, and abide by its international commitments on transparency of military activities." The statement praised Ukraine's "restraint," the AP reports.

"Any use of force to change borders is strictly prohibited under international law. Russia should be in no doubt that further military aggression against Ukraine would have massive consequences and severe cost in response," the statement said. Russia's movement of weapons and troops to the border region dominated weekend talks among foreign ministers from the G7 wealthy democracies in the English city of Liverpool. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, the conference host, said the G7 was sending a "powerful signal to our adversaries and our allies." The statement promised a "common and comprehensive response" but contained no details.

China's muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific region and the ailing Iran nuclear deal were also on the agenda for the top diplomats from the UK, the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Getting a unified response to global crises from the G7, a group of countries with disparate interests, has often proved tough. Truss, who also invited ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to the Liverpool meeting, said the G7 was “concerned about the coercive economic policies of China." Pope Francis mentioned the Ukraine standoff in his Sunday blessing, per the AP, expressing the hope "tensions would be resolved through serious international dialogue and not through arms."

(More Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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