WEISSENHAUS, Germany — A group of seven foreign ministers vowed on Saturday (May 14) to increase Russia’s economic and political isolation, continue to supply arms to Ukraine and tackle what the German foreign minister called what the Moscow-led “wheat war” was.
After a meeting in the Baltic Sea resort of Weißenhaus, high-ranking diplomats from Great Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United States and the European Union also pledged to continue their military and defense aid “as long as necessary”.
They would also crack down on so-called Russian misinformation aimed at blaming the West for food problems around the world due to economic sanctions against Moscow, and urged China not to support Moscow or justify Russia’s war, according to a joint statement.
“Have we done enough to mitigate the effects of this war? It’s not our war. It is a war by the Russian President, but we have global responsibilities,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a close ally of Vladimir Putin, dismissed the meeting, particularly the group’s insistence on recognizing the integrity of Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders.
“Let’s put it mildly: our country doesn’t care at all that the G7 doesn’t recognize the new borders. What is important is the true will of the people living there,” he said in an online post. Russian troops control large parts of eastern Ukraine.
The key to putting more pressure on Russia is to ban or phase out purchases of Russian oil, with EU member states expected to reach an agreement on the issue next week, albeit from Hungary at this point is rejected.
The ministers said they would impose more sanctions on Russian elites, including economic actors, central government institutions and the military, allowing Putin to “wage the war of his choosing.”
The meeting, attended by the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Moldova, also highlighted food security concerns and fears that the war could spread to smaller neighbor Moldova.
“People will die in Africa and the Middle East and we face an urgent question: how to feed the world’s people? People are wondering what will happen if we don’t have the grain that we used to get from Russia and Ukraine,” Baerbock said.
She added that the G7 would work to find logistical solutions to get essential commodities out of Ukraine’s warehouses ahead of the next harvest.
Attention now turns to Berlin, while ministers meet with Sweden and Finland later on Saturday to prepare to bid for membership of the transatlantic alliance, prompting threats of retaliation from Moscow and objections from NATO member Turkey.
“It’s important that we have a consensus,” Canada’s Foreign Minister Melanie Joly told reporters.
Putin calls the invasion a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of anti-Russian nationalism fueled by the West. Ukraine and its allies say Russia has started an unprovoked war.
“More of that,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters. “The only thing missing is pushing for diplomatic engagement to reach a ceasefire. It’s missing because Vladimir Putin told everyone he didn’t want to end the war.”
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