The G7 will tackle the grain crisis in Ukraine and maintain economic pressure on Russia

The Group of Seven foreign ministers vowed on Saturday to deepen Russia’s economic and political isolation, continue to supply arms to Ukraine and tackle what the German foreign minister called of the “wheat war” waged by Moscow.

After meeting at a castle in the Baltic Sea resort of Weissenhaus, ministers from 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 necessary.”

They would also tackle what they called Russian disinformation 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 justify Russia’s war in Ukraine, according to a joint statement.

“Have we done enough to mitigate the consequences of this war? This is not our war. This is a war led by the Russian president, but we have a global responsibility,” said the German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, during a closing press conference, after three days of talks.

Energy deal expected

The key to putting more pressure on Russia is to ban or phase out the purchase of Russian oil. EU member states are expected to reach an agreement on the issue next week, although it remains opposed by Hungary at this stage.

“We will accelerate our efforts to reduce and end dependence on Russian energy supplies and as quickly as possible, building on G7 commitments to eliminate or ban Russian coal and oil imports. “, reads the press release.

Ministers said they would add new sanctions on Russian elites, including economic actors, central government institutions and the military, which allow President Vladimir Putin ‘to wage the war of his choosing’, which has begun February 24.

Aim to get grain out of Ukraine

The meeting in northern Germany, attended by the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Moldova, also highlighted food security concerns and fears that the war in Ukraine could escalate. spread to its little neighbour, Moldova.

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

“Russia’s war of aggression has generated one of the most serious food and energy crises in recent history, which now threatens the most vulnerable people around the world,” the group said.

Baerbock said the G7 would work to find logistical solutions to get vital products out of Ukrainian storage ahead of the next harvest.

“People are going to die in Africa and the Middle East and we face an urgent question: how do we feed people around the world? get from Russia and Ukraine,” Baerbock said.

Make the “authors” pay for the reconstruction

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said the G7 is interested in seizing assets and selling them to help rebuild Ukraine.

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

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly speaks to the media after three days of G7 talks which ended on Saturday in Weissenhaeuser, Germany. (Marcus Brandt/Associated Press)

Joly said reconstruction cannot happen without mine clearance and that Canada would help map landmines in Ukraine and educate people about the issue.

“Families can’t go home…and children can’t go back to parks or playgrounds because there are so many landmines across the country,” she said.

Discussions on NATO enlargement

Attention now turns to Berlin as ministers meet later on Saturday with Sweden and Finland preparing to apply to join the transatlantic alliance, prompting threats of retaliation from Moscow and objections from the Turkey, member of NATO.

“It’s important that we have a consensus,” Joly told reporters when asked about the possibility of Turkey blocking their membership.

Putin calls the invasion a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of anti-Russian nationalism fomented by the West. Ukraine and its allies say Russia has launched an unprovoked war.

“More or less the same,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters. “The only thing missing is pushing for diplomatic engagement to get a ceasefire. It’s missing because Vladimir Putin has told everyone he doesn’t want to stop the war.”