G7 to tackle Ukraine grain crisis, continue economic pressure on Russia

Group of seven foreign ministers vowed on Saturday to strengthen Russia’s economic and political isolation, to continue supplying arms to Ukraine and to tackle what the German foreign minister described as a “wheat war” being waged by Moscow.

After meeting at a castle estate in the Baltic Sea resort of Weissenhaus, the ministers of Great Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United States and the European Union also pledged to continue their military and defense assistance “as long as required.”

They would also tackle what they called Russian misinformation aimed at blaming the West for food supply problems around the world due to economic sanctions against Moscow, and urged China not to help Moscow or end Russia’s war in Ukraine. justify, according to a joint statement.

“Have we done enough to mitigate the effects of this war? It is not our war. It is the war of the President of Russia, but we have a global responsibility,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters during a closing press conference, after three days of talking.

Energy agreement expected

The key to putting more pressure on Russia is to ban or phase out the buying of Russian oil with EU member states expected to reach an agreement on the issue next week, even if Hungary is against it at this stage.

“We will accelerate our efforts to reduce and end dependence on Russian energy supplies and as soon as possible, building on G7 commitments to phase out or ban Russian coal and oil imports,” the statement said.

The ministers said they would add further sanctions to Russia’s elites, including economic actors, central government institutions and the military, allowing President Vladimir Putin to “lead his war of choice,” which began on Feb. 24.

Goal to get grain from Ukraine

The meeting in northern Germany, attended by foreign ministers of Ukraine and Moldova, also raised concerns about food security and fears that the war in Ukraine could spill over into its smaller neighbor Moldova.

The G7 warned that the war in Ukraine is fueling a global food and energy crisis that threatens poor countries. They said urgent measures are needed to unblock the grain stocks that are preventing Russia from leaving Ukraine.

“The Russian war of aggression has led to one of the most serious food and energy crises in recent history that now threatens the most vulnerable around the world,” the group said.

Baerbock said the G7 would work to find logistical solutions to get vital goods out of storage in Ukraine before the next harvests.

“People will die in Africa and the Middle East and we are faced with a pressing question: How can people around the world be fed? People wonder what will happen if we don’t get the grain we need from Russia and Ukraine,” said Baerbock.

Make ‘perpetrators’ pay for reconstruction

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said there is G7 interest in the idea of ​​seizing and selling assets to help rebuild Ukraine.

“It is fundamental that the reconstruction of Ukraine is financed by the perpetrators of this war. There is a lot of interest on the part of the G7 members. We have certainly had the conversation about this,” Joly said at a media briefing on Saturday.

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly addresses the media after three days of G7 talks that ended Saturday in Weissenhaeuser, Germany. (Marcus Brandt/The Associated Press)

Joly said reconstruction is not possible without clearing mines and that Canada would help map landmines in Ukraine and educate the population about the issue.

“Families can’t go back to their homes…and kids can’t go back to parks or playgrounds because there are so many landmines all over the country,” she said.

Talks about NATO enlargement

Attention now turns to Berlin as ministers meet later on Saturday with Sweden and Finland preparing to apply for membership in the transatlantic alliance, with Moscow threatening retaliation and objections from NATO member Turkey.

“It is important that we have a consensus,” Joly told reporters when asked whether Turkey might be blocking their accession.

VIEW | Poland in favor of Sweden, Finland joining NATO, says Deputy Foreign Minister

Poland strongly supports Sweden, Finland joining NATO, says Deputy Foreign Minister

“When it comes to Sweden and Finland, Poland is very much in favor of joining NATO.” Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marcin Przydacz further says his country supports an open door policy as countries like Ukraine “wait in line”.

Turkey has not closed the door to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, but wants to negotiate with the Scandinavian countries and end what it sees as terrorist activity, especially in Stockholm, Turkish President’s spokesman Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. Saturday.

“We’re not closing the door. But we’re basically raising this issue as a national security issue for Turkey,” said Ibrahim Kalin, the president’s top foreign policy adviser.

Erdogan surprised NATO members Friday when he said it was “not possible” for Turkey, which has NATO membership, to support the expansion of the alliance because Finland and Sweden were “home to many terrorist organizations”.

Any country that wants to join the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance needs the unanimous support of the military alliance members. The United States and other member states have tried to clarify Ankara’s position.

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