At last, on Sunday, before Putin’s great parade in Moscow, the G7 or Group of Seven nations, including the United States, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, and Britain, the seven largest “advanced” economies, agreed to ban or phase out Russian oil and gas imports in response to Moscow’s Ukraine invasion.
We only can hope that this time
“This will hit hard at the main artery of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s economy and deny him the revenue he needs to fund his war,”
The U.S. had already banned importing Russian oil, gas, and coal previously, but the European nations had not yet reached a united agreement.
In March Germany, which imported about a third of its crude oil from Russia last year, had already planned to halve its imports of Russian oil as it tried to cut its dependency on Moscow for energy as the Kremlin’s war on Ukraine intensified. Germany also got about a third of its gas from Russia, but has blocked the opening of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, though first rejected a complete ban on Russian energy imports given the potential impact on its economy.
On the 8th of May the Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7), alongside Ukraine and the wider global community, also commemorated the end of the Second World War in Europe and the liberation from fascism and the National Socialist reign of terror, which caused immeasurable destruction, unspeakable horrors and human suffering. It was incredible what one nation could destroy in such a short time. Millions of victims was the prize the world had to pay for the megalomaniac dream of one leader. And now we face another such a leader who is also willing to create a big nation.
Seventy-seven years later, a man from the North also wanted to enlarge his reign and chose to invade Ukraine in an unprovoked war of aggression against a sovereign country. The king of the north his actions bring shame on Russia and the historic sacrifices of its people. Somehow he seems to forget the people he is attacking now, were the ones who defeated the Nazis. Through Russia’s invasion of and actions in Ukraine since 2014, Russia has violated the international rules-based order, particularly the UN Charter, conceived after the Second World War to spare successive generations from the scourge of war.
The G7 assured Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of their full solidarity and support for Ukraine’s courageous defence of its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and its fight for a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future within its internationally recognised borders, with the liberties and freedoms that so many of us enjoy today.
President Zelenskyy underlined the strong resolve of Ukraine to protect its sovereignty and territorial integrity. He stated that Ukraine’s ultimate aim is to ensure full withdrawal of Russia’s military forces and equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine and to secure its ability to protect itself in the future and thanked G7 members for their support. In this regard, Ukraine emphasised that it relies on its international partners, in particular on G7 members, in providing necessary assistance in the domain of defence capabilities, as well as with a view to ensuring a swift and effective recovery of Ukraine’s economy and to securing its economic and energy security.
Ukraine has entered into discussions with international partners on security mechanisms for a viable post-war peace settlement. Ukraine remains committed to working closely with G7 members to support Ukraine’s macroeconomic stability in the face of the challenges posed by the full-scaled Russian invasion, massive destruction of critical infrastructure and disruption of traditional shipping routes for Ukrainian exports. President Zelenskyy noted his country’s commitment to uphold our common democratic values and principles, including respect for human rights and the rule of law.
On Sunday the G7, reassured President Zelenskyy of their continued readiness to undertake further commitments to help Ukraine secure its free and democratic future, such that Ukraine can defend itself now and deter future acts of aggression. To this end, they will pursue their ongoing military and defence assistance to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, continue supporting Ukraine in defending its networks against cyber incidents, and expand their cooperation, including on information security. They also will continue to support Ukraine in increasing its economic and energy security.
President Putin’s war is causing global economic disruptions, impacting the security of global energy supply, fertiliser and food provision, and the functioning of global supply chains in general. The most vulnerable countries are affected most severely. Together with partners globally, the G7 are stepping up their efforts to counter these adverse and harmful impacts of this war which does not seem to end soon.
President Putin’s war against Ukraine is placing global food security under severe strain. Together with the United Nations, the G7 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 G7 made it clear that failure to do so will be seen as an attack on feeding the world. They will step up efforts to help Ukraine to keep producing in view of the next harvest season and exporting, including by alternative routes.
In support of the United Nations Global Crises Response Group, the G7 leaders will address the causes and consequences of the global food crisis through a Global Alliance for Food Security, as their joint initiative to ensure momentum and coordination, and other efforts. For this they will closely cooperate with international partners and organisations beyond the G7, and, with the aim of transforming political commitments into concrete actions as planned by various international initiatives such as the Food and Agriculture Resilience Mission (FARM) and key regional outreach initiatives, including towards African and Mediterranean countries. The G7 reiterate that their sanctions packages are carefully targeted so as not to impede the delivery of humanitarian assistance or the trade of agricultural products and reaffirm our commitment to avoid food export restrictions which impact the most vulnerable.
They will continue to take action against Russian banks connected to the global economy and systemically critical to the Russian financial system. We can only hope they have already severely impaired Russia’s ability to finance its war of aggression by targeting its Central Bank and its largest financial institutions. In any case the G7 promised to continue and elevate their campaign against the financial elites and family members, who support President Putin in his war effort and squander the resources of the Russian people. Consistent with their national authorities, the G7 members will impose sanctions on additional individuals.
The oil bans are naturally a two-edged sword. Oil is a top export for Russia, and Moscow would almost certainly sustain a big economic blow should it be banned, but parts of Europe are heavily dependent on its oil and thus are also vulnerable.
The European Union, which gets about a quarter of its crude oil imports from Russia, is too dependent on Russian gas to consider banning it in the short term, but has laid out plans to become progressively independent from it.