G7 steps up Russia sanctions
Arena Holdings PTY
● Leaders of the world’s richest democracies have agreed to stiffen sanctions against Russia, while a draft communiqué to be issued after their talks in the Japanese city of Hiroshima stressed the need to reduce reliance on trade with China. The Group of Seven (G7) leaders, who were to be joined this weekend by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, vowed to restrict any exports to Russia that could help it in its 15-month war against Ukraine. “This includes exports of industrial machinery, tools and other technology that Russia uses to rebuild its war machine,” they said in a joint statement released on Friday, adding they would pursue moves to restrict Russian revenues from trade in metals and diamonds. On China, which the G7 powers see increasingly as a threat to economic security, they were to agree that its status as the world’s second-largest economy meant there was no alternative to seeking co-operation, an early draft of the final communiqué seen by Reuters said. “Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China. We do not seek to thwart China’s economic progress and development,” the draft, which was still subject to change, said. The draft nonetheless went on to urge measures to “reduce excessive dependencies” in critical supply chains and counter “malign practices” in technology transfer and data disclosure. It also reaffirmed the need for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and urged China to press Russia to stop its military aggression of Ukraine. The members of the G7 the US, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Canada and Italy were using the three-day meeting to debate strategy on a Ukraine conflict that shows no sign of easing. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he chose the city for the summit to focus attention on arms control. Hiroshima, and another Japanese city, Nagasaki, were destroyed by US nuclear attacks 78 years ago that ended World War 2. Having emerged as the world’s richest nations after that war, the G7 democracies have become increasingly challenged by an ascendant China and unpredictable Russia. Amid evidence that existing Russian sanctions were being weakened by circumvention, they said the group was “engaging” with countries through which any restricted G7 goods, services or technology could transit to Russia. “We note and encourage commitments made by these countries to ensure our measures are not circumvented and have the intended effect,” they said, without naming any territories. Breakdowns of German trade data show that its exports to countries bordering Russia have risen sharply, fuelling concerns about the re-exportation of goods from those neighbouring states. The G7 countries reaffirmed their condemnation of Russia’s aggression and promised further support for Ukraine in terms of military help and financial aid for its warshattered economy this year and next. Zelensky will attend the meeting today, two officials involved in the G7 summit said, declining to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.