The group of seven foreign ministers on Saturday pledged to strengthen Russia’s economic and political isolation, continue to supply arms to Ukraine and deal with what the German foreign minister described as a “wheat war” led by Moscow.
Senior diplomats from Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United States and the European Union have also pledged to continue their military and defense assistance “as long as necessary” following Weissenhaus’ meeting on the Baltic Sea.
They called Russia’s misinformation aimed at blaming the West for food security problems around the world because of economic sanctions on Moscow and called on China not to help Moscow or justify Russia’s war, according to a joint statement.
“Have we done enough to alleviate the consequences of this war? This is not our war. This is the war of the Russian president, but we have a global responsibility,” German Foreign Minister Analena Bearbak told reporters.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a close ally of Vladimir Putin, has rejected the meeting, in particular the group’s insistence on recognizing the integrity of Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders.
In an online post, he said, “Let’s put it mildly: our country does not care at all about not recognizing the new G7 borders. What matters is the real will of the people living there.” Russian forces control much of eastern Ukraine.
The key to putting more pressure on Russia is to ban the purchase of Russian oil from EU member states or to reach an agreement on the issue in stages, although it is at this stage that Hungary’s opposition remains.
The ministers said they would add more sanctions on Russia’s elite, including economic actors, central government agencies and the military, which would enable Putin to “lead the fight of his choice.”
The meeting, which was attended by the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Moldova, also highlighted food security concerns and fears that war could spread to its smaller neighbor Moldova.
“People will die in Africa and the Middle East and we are facing an urgent question: how can people around the world be fed? People are asking themselves what would happen if we did not have the grain we needed before? Drink from Russia and Ukraine,” said Bayerbock.
He added that the G7 will work to find logistical solutions to get vital products from storage in Ukraine before the next harvest.
Attention now turns to Berlin as ministers sit in a meeting later Saturday to prepare for Sweden and Finland to apply for membership in the Transatlantic Alliance, with threats of retaliation from Moscow and objections from NATO member Turkey.
“It’s important that we have a consensus,” Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie told reporters.
Putin called the attack a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of anti-Russian nationalism instigated by the West. Ukraine and its allies say Russia has started the war without provocation.
“There’s a lot more to it,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters. “One thing that is missing is the pressure for a diplomatic engagement for a ceasefire. It is missing because Vladimir Putin has been telling everyone that he does not want to end the war.”