How G7 leaders are dealing with Russia's 'wheat war'
- G7 leaders promised to provide military support to Ukraine 'as long as necessary'
- They are also looking at ways to phase out Europe's reliance on Russian oil
- They addressed the food security concern as well
The Group of Seven foreign ministers agreed on Saturday to further isolate Russia economically and politically, to continue supplying weaponry to Ukraine, and to combat what Germany's foreign minister called Moscow's "wheat war."
Senior diplomats from the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United States, and the European Union met in the Baltic Sea resort of Weissenhaus and agreed to continue military and defence aid for "as long as necessary."
According to a joint statement, they would also combat what they called Russian propaganda aimed at blaming the West for food supply concerns throughout the world caused by economic sanctions on Moscow, and they encouraged China not to support Moscow or justify Russia's war.
"Have we done enough to mitigate the consequences of this war? It is not our war. It's a war by the president of Russia, but we have global responsibility," Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock of Germany told reporters.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a close supporter of Vladimir Putin, ridiculed the gathering, particularly the group's demand for the world recognition of Ukraine's internationally recognised borders.
"Let's put it mildly: our country does not care at all about the G7 not recognising the new borders. What is important is the true will of the people living there," he stated in an internet article. Large swaths of eastern Ukraine are under Russian control.
The key to increasing pressure on Russia is to prohibit or phase out the purchase of Russian oil, with EU member states expecting to reach an agreement on the matter next week, even if Hungary remains opposed at this time.
The ministers stated that additional sanctions would be imposed on Russian elites, including economic actors, central government institutions, and the military, allowing Putin to "lead his war of choice."
The meeting, which was attended by the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Moldova, also addressed food security problems and fears that the violence could spread to its smaller neighbour Moldova.
"People will be dying in Africa and the Middle East and we are faced with an urgent question: how can people be fed around the world? People are asking themselves what will happen if we don't have the grain we need that we used to get from Russia and Ukraine," Baerbock said.
She went on to say that the G7 would strive to find logistical solutions to move crucial goods out of Ukraine's storage before the next harvest.
Attention now shifts to Berlin, where ministers will meet later on Saturday, with Sweden and Finland preparing to ask for transatlantic alliance membership, prompting warnings of retaliation from Moscow and opposition from NATO member Turkey.
"It is important that we have a consensus," Melanie Joly, Canada's Foreign Minister, told reporters.
Putin describes the invasion as a "special military operation" to disarm Ukraine and rid it of Western-stoked anti-Russian chauvinism. Ukraine and its allies accuse Russia of launching an unprovoked attack.
"More of the same," Josep Borrell, the EU's Foreign Policy chief, told the media. "The one thing that is missing is pushing for a diplomatic engagement to get a ceasefire. It is missing because Vladimir Putin has been saying to everybody that he doesn't want to stop the war."