G7 ups pressure on Russia, pledge to phase out Russian energy

Leaders of the Group of Seven have committed to phasing out their countries’ dependency on Russian energy, announcing new measures as part of an “unprecedented” package of coordinated sanctions to punish Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

After a virtual meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday, the leaders also pledged to “elevate” a campaign against Russian elites who support President Vladimir Putin.

The latest show of support for Ukraine comes as Russia prepares to celebrate the defeat of Nazi Germany during World War II.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to preside over a parade in Moscow’s Red Square of troops, tanks, rockets and intercontinental ballistic missiles, making a speech that could offer clues on the future of the two-month-old conflict.

In a statement, the G7 – which unites the world’s seven wealthiest nations, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States – said Putin has brought “shame” on his country and the “historic sacrifices of its people” by invading Ukraine, 77 years after the end of World War II.

They also reassured Zelenskyy of their commitment to help Ukraine “secure its free and democratic future” and said they will continue to “impose severe and immediate economic costs” on Putin for his “unjustifiable war”.

Most significantly, the G7 said it will phase out dependency on Russian energy, including by phasing out or banning the import of Russian oil.

“We will ensure that we do so in a timely and orderly fashion, and in ways that provide time for the world to secure alternative supplies,” it said.

‘Evil always loses’

The G7 said it will also take measures to “prevent the provision of key services on which Russia depends” and continue to take action against Russian banks connected to the global economy.

It added, “We will continue and elevate our campaign against the financial elites and family members, who support President Putin in his war effort and squander the resources of the Russian people”.

The White House hailed the sanctions, saying the new measures will “hit hard at the main artery of Putin’s economy and deny him the revenue he needs to fund his war”.

Washington also unveiled another round of sanctions against Moscow, targeting more executives and businesses as part of a broad effort to isolate Russia and limit resources being used to advance the war. It also announced a new policy of visa restrictions on more than 2,500 Russian military officials and Russian-backed forces in Ukraine, according to a Department of State fact sheet.

French President Emmanuel Macron meanwhile said the G7 sanctions against Russia were “unprecedented” and warned that “they will get even stronger”.

Praising the G7 response, Zelenskyy said in his nighttime video address that he felt heartened by their actions.

“The main thing I felt today was the world’s even greater willingness to help us,” he said. “It is clear to the whole free world that Ukraine is the party of good in this war.”

“And Russia will lose, because evil always loses.”

There was no immediate comment from Russia on the G7 moves.

The G7 statement also addressed the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on the global economy and said wealthy nations will step up efforts to counter the adverse consequences.

They went on to express concern that the war was causing global economic disruptions, impacting the security of global energy supply, fertiliser and food provision, and the functioning of global supply chains.

“Together with the United Nations, we call on Russia to end its blockade and all other activities that further impede Ukrainian food production and exports, in line with its international commitments,” the statement said.

“Failure to do so will be seen as an attack on feeding the world.”

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