The foreign ministers of the Group of Seven major developed countries on Saturday warned further aggression against Ukraine would cause Russia to incur “severe and unprecedented costs.”
Calling Russia’s “unprovoked and unjustified” massive military deployment a “challenge to global security and the international order,” the G-7 ministers said in a statement released after their talks in Munich that Moscow should choose diplomacy and de-escalate tensions by implementing the announced reduction of military activities along Ukraine’s borders.
“Russia should be in no doubt that any further military aggression against Ukraine will have massive consequences, including financial and economic sanctions on a wide array of sectoral and individual targets that would impose severe and unprecedented costs on the Russian economy,” the statement said.
G7 foreign ministers hold an emergency meeting in Munich, Germany on Feb. 19, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Japanese Foreign Ministry)(Kyodo)
The G-7 has seen no evidence of reduction in Russian military activities, the ministers said.
The ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States as well as the European Union also demanded that Russia “take up the offer of dialogue” with Washington and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, while vowing to back Ukraine’s efforts to strengthen its democracy.
The meeting took place on the fringes of the Munich Security Conference as the international community anxiously monitors the situation at Ukraine’s borders, where Russia is seen as having amassed as many as 190,000 troops.
On Friday, U.S. President Joe Biden said he is “convinced” that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to invade Ukraine within days, with targets including its capital Kyiv.
Russia has warned that it could take “military-technical measures” if the United States and its allies continue to reject Moscow’s demand for security guarantees precluding Ukraine’s entry into NATO.
Russia has been asserting that its security is threatened by NATO’s eastward expansion while denying any intention to invade Ukraine, a former Soviet republic.
The meeting of the top diplomats will lay the groundwork for a virtual summit of G-7 leaders slated for next Thursday.
Earlier this week, the G-7 finance ministers have warned that economic sanctions bringing “massive and immediate consequences” will be imposed on Russia if it invades Ukraine.
The G-7 foreign ministers last met in December in the English city of Liverpool and reaffirmed their “unwavering commitment” to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“This issue is about the fundamental principle of the international community that changing the status quo by force is not tolerated,” Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters after the gathering.
Before attending the annual security conference, Hayashi also had bilateral meetings with foreign ministers from such as EU, Latvia, Britain and Romania, pledging to keep close cooperation in addressing the Ukraine issue, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.