G7 decides what to do with Ukraine

G7 decides what to do with Ukraine

The foreign ministers of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Japan gathered on the Baltic Sea in the north of Germany, not for recreation but for a three-day summit of the G7 foreign ministers to discuss world problems, and ahead of them the Ukrainian crisis that has been the main issue for the last two and a half months.

“The focus of the meeting will be Russia’s offensive war against Ukraine, its implications, for example, for security in energy, food supply, other topics will be the role of China, the situation in the Indo-Pacific, Afghanistan, the Middle East, the fight against climate change and pandemics”, – said Andrea Sasse of the German Foreign Ministry.

Diplomats began arriving on May 12, but the main talks will take place on Friday, the 13th. Given the experience of a similar summit in 2015 in the city of Lübeck, when anti-globalisation protesters staged large-scale protests, German authorities chose Weissenhaus Castle, a converted hotel located in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, over a major city for the current event. And while law enforcement authorities have not registered any recent demonstrations, police have provided heightened security measures: the area is cordoned off, nearby roads are blocked and drone flights are banned. In a similar scheme, Germany will hold the summit of the G7 leaders – they will gather in the Elmau castle in Bavaria, where activists would not be able to get to even if they wanted to and where presidents and prime ministers have already met 7 years ago.

Ukrainian and Moldovan ministers Dmytro Culeba and Nicolae Popescu are present as guests at the Weissenhaus.

The Ukrainian diplomat, who was personally invited by his German counterpart Annalena Berbock during his visit to Kiev on 10 May, immediately rushed to the TV screen upon his arrival. In an interview with the ARD channel, Kuleba stressed that at the summit of the G7 foreign ministers he intended to push for acceleration of Ukraine’s accession to the EU and discuss the extension of anti-Russian sanctions.

The view of European politicians on the pace of Ukraine’s European integration differs greatly from the view from Kiev. This process has already taken several years, or even decades, and now it seems that they want to keep the promise of membership at the level of promises. Following talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on 9 May, French President Emmanuel Macron proposed a new political community, which Ukraine and other countries that have embraced European integration could join. However, the notorious Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, spoke out strongly against it, stressing that Ukraine should either be in or out of the EU.

“We see that the FRG government and the Federal Chancellor have changed their position regarding arms deliveries, and we see changes in the FRG position on sanctions. We see all positive changes and that the FRG has taken a leading role in the Ukrainian issue”, – Kuleba continued on ARD.

Scholz’s position has indeed changed dramatically since the start of the Russian special operation: he insisted that his government would continue the course of its predecessors and adhere to the principle of not supplying weapons to countries where there is fighting, but then, according to media reports, allowed military aid to Kiev under pressure from political opponents. In practice, however, Berlin is in no hurry to transfer arms. According to Ukrainian sources in the German newspaper Die Welt, the Ukrainian authorities were told that they would receive the tanks directly from the German government, while in fact Kiev has to order the Gepard anti-aircraft tanks from the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann company itself. German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht announced plans to hand over the Gepard to Kiev on 26 April, but the procedure has still not been launched; moreover, the government has not even approved Rheinmetall’s bid for 100 Marder BMPs and 88 Leopard tanks.

The foreign ministers are likely to discuss the practical implementation of the measures announced by their leaders at the video summit on 8 May, at which time there was much uncertainty as to how the G7 will put their plans into practice. In a joint statement, the leaders explicitly stated that their aim was “to prevent Russia from winning the war against Ukraine”. However, they did not specify what would be seen as a Russian victory and how to measure the G7’s success in preventing it. Furthermore, the politicians announced that Kiev had started discussions with international partners on “security arrangements for a sustainable post-war settlement”. Can it be considered that we are talking about providing security guarantees commensurate with those available to NATO members, as the Ukrainian authorities insist? On the other hand, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky clearly formulates his wishes and listed them in the same online format to the G7 leaders: to achieve the complete withdrawal of the units of the Russian Armed Forces from the territory of the country, to receive assistance from foreign partners to strengthen its defence capabilities, as well as to quickly restore the national economy and ensure its economic and energy security.

Where there is help for Kiev, there are sanctions for Moscow. This topic is sure to be at the heart of the diplomats’ discussions, the more so as EU countries split into two camps when discussing the possibility of imposing an oil embargo as part of the next package of restrictive measures against Russia for its special operation. The leaders have announced plans to impose sanctions on structure-forming Russian banks (which ones are not specified), “financial elites and their family members”, and they have also asked private companies to stop working with Russia to stop providing the services on which it depends.

No matter how many sanctions Western countries and their allies impose, the world community suffers because they provoke a global crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

“Their authors, guided by short-sighted, inflated political ambitions and Russophobia, hit their own national interests, their own economies and the well-being of their citizens to a greater extent. We see this, above all, in the sharp rise in inflation in Europe. <…> Russia is confidently coping with external challenges. Inflation is gradually slowing down; in the past month, it has fallen by several times compared to March. Weekly price growth has already fallen to 0.1%, which is close to the weekly growth rate corresponding to the Bank of Russia’s inflation target”, – said the head of state at a meeting on economic issues.

Yevgeniya Kondakova, Ukraina.ru

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