G7 Ministers Call For Russian Withdrawal
Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven nations on Monday reinforced their commitment to strongly supporting Ukraine, while also “intensifying, fully coordinating and enforcing sanctions against Russia.”
At a meeting in Japan, the G-7 ministers “underscored that Russia must withdraw all forces and equipment from Ukraine immediately and unconditionally,” according to a statement issued by Japan’s foreign ministry.
Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa said at a meeting focused on Russia’s war in Ukraine that it is important to maintain unity in enforcing sanctions against Russia.
Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement last month that Russia would deploy tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, the G-7 ministers on Monday condemned the move, reaffirming that “Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric is unacceptable,” the statement said.
Russia was once part of what was then the G-8 but was expelled after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
A senior U.S. State Department official told reporters Monday there was also unity about engaging with China, including “a strong interest in ensuring that China lives up to the commitment that it’s made to the world community and to all of us individually that it does not intend to supply weapons to Russia in this war.”
The official said the G-7 discussed Ukraine’s long-term security and economic investment needs as well.
Britain’s defense ministry Monday highlighted the mounting number of civilian mine-related deaths in Ukraine.
The British ministry said the problem is worst in areas that Russian troops previously occupied, including Kherson and Kharkiv, and that the risk increases with the arrival of springtime agricultural work.
“Over 750 mine related casualties among civilians have been reported since the start of the invasion – one in eight has involved a child. It will likely take at least a decade to clear Ukraine of mines,” the ministry said in its latest daily assessment.
Russia on Monday sentenced a prominent opposition activist to 25 years in prison on charges that included treason after he criticized Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Vladimir Kara-Murza’s sentencing is the latest in a crackdown against opposition in Russia that has taken place since Putin launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly called for the release of Kara-Murza, a Russian-British dual-national.
“Vladimir Kara-Murza bravely denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for what it was – a blatant violation of international law and the UN Charter,” Cleverly said in a statement. “Russia’s lack of commitment to protecting fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression, is alarming.”