Group 7 foreign ministers call on Russia to end border tensions More than 100,000 troops have been deployed along Ukraine’s eastern, northern and southern borders.
LIVERPOOL, Britain – Leading diplomats from the world’s richest democracies on Sunday warned of “enormous consequences” and “serious costs” if Russia continued to invade Ukraine or carry out military aggression near the border.
The G7 foreign ministers called on Russia to end border tensions and welcomed any efforts to negotiate or avoid conflict.
“The use of any force to change the border is strictly prohibited under international law,” they said in a statement. “Russia should not doubt that the military aggression against Ukraine will have enormous consequences and will be very costly in return.”
Their announcement coincided with a previous warning from Western officials last week after Russia stationed about 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s eastern, northern and southern borders. In a two-hour video interview on Tuesday, President Biden himself called on President Vladimir Putin to impose unprecedented economic and other sanctions on Russia if it came to power, and to call for de-escalation and diplomatic action.
However, his promise to Mr Putin to discuss European security in some diplomatic way has alarmed some US allies.
Mr Putin has set out seemingly unattainable Russian goals, including a 2008 written guarantee from NATO that it would renounce NATO’s promise to annex Ukraine and Georgia at some point in the future (a demand that Washington has already rejected), no arms deployments on Russia’s borders. Promise not to conduct military exercises at a distance.
Sunday’s warning included Japan as one of the countries condemning Russia’s military buildup. Two-day meeting in Liverpool, northern England.
“What we’ve shown this weekend shows that the world’s largest economy is united,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Trass told reporters in Liverpool. “We have sent a strong signal to our enemies and allies. We have made it clear that any attack by Russia on Ukraine will have enormous consequences and will be very costly. “
Officials have said the Russian military may be ready to attack Ukraine in January and February, but there are no reports that Mr Putin has decided whether to do so.
According to US intelligence, the Russian military has drawn up a war plan to send 175,000 troops across the border into Ukraine, which, despite the equipment and training provided by the United States, will have little ability to stop it.
Mr Putin denied that he was concerned about the deployment of troops on Ukraine’s border, saying that instead the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization were supporting the Ukrainian army with weapons and exercises and threatening Russia’s security.
On Sunday, Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin was ready to resume talks on the “situation in the conflict around Ukraine in Europe”, which had already become a reality, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported. .
Mr Peskov also said reports of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border were “exacerbating tensions”.
According to the state news agency TASS, he said in an interview on Sunday that “this was done in order to further demonize Russia.”
A statement from the Group of 7 ministers did not specify what sanctions would be imposed in the event of Russia’s aggression. The White House has warned that the United States is ready to take vague action against Russia after the annexation of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine in 2014. This could lead NATO to change its military presence in Europe.
A senior State Department official who attended the talks in Liverpool said the joint statement showed that the “Group of 7” and the European Union were “really united” in imposing tougher sanctions on Russia if necessary. This was a striking explanation for the fear that some European officials would react too harshly during the controversy over Russia’s cut-off from the global financial settlement system, known as SWIFT.
“We reaffirm our commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the statement said.
A senior State Department official described the summit as “very intense” in Libya and elsewhere in Africa, highlighting concerns about commanders working for the Kremlin-linked private mercenary Wagner Group. The official accused private forces deployed in the conflict zones of Belarus and the Middle East of “creating a state of emergency” in Russia’s interests, but did not elaborate.
The official briefed reporters traveling with Secretary of State Anthony J. Blinken on the terms of anonymity in order to discuss the diplomatic talks in Liverpool more openly.
The State Department is sending high-ranking officials this week to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, and Moscow, to defuse tensions. “The visit of Karen Donfried, Assistant Secretary of State for US Policy in Europe, will reaffirm the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity,” the ministry said in a statement.
Diplomats in Liverpool also discussed how China could speed up humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, which is in dire need of food, cut off economic partnerships with developing countries, and hold the Taliban accountable.
In addition, the British Foreign Secretary, Ms. Trass, said that the latest round of nuclear talks between the world’s major powers and Iran was “the last chance for Tehran to make a serious decision behind the negotiating table.” The Trump administration is trying to reinstate diplomats in the 2015 deal that withdrew the United States in 2018, which limited Iran’s nuclear program instead of easing US financial sanctions.
But eight months after Mr Biden took office and expressed his desire to rejoin the talks, the new Iranian leaders, who have called for the sanctions to be lifted before other terms are agreed, have had serious and possibly fatal consequences.
The seventh round of talks continued in Vienna on Sunday. They resumed work after a five-month hiatus as Iran recently elected a new hard-line government.
Germany’s new foreign minister, Annalena Bayerbok, told Liverpool that the time for negotiations was coming to an end. He said Iran had moved to abandon the compromise agreed in the previous round. “The last round has shown that we have not made any progress in recent days,” he told reporters.
China and Russia have said they are more patient with Iran and say talks are progressing slowly.
“It’s still time for Iran to come and agree to this deal,” Ms. Trass said.
A senior State Department official said the talks in Liverpool included options to take action against Iran if the nuclear deal collapses.