G7 kicks off with strong condemnation of Russian invasion of Ukraine

Countries resolve to stand against Russia's "illegal, unprovoked" invasion

g7-country-leaders (From L) Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, US President Joe Biden, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and President of the European Council Charles Michel arrive for a family photo during a visit to the Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima Island as part of the G7 Leaders' Summit | AFP

The leaders of G7 advanced economies, on Friday, resolved to stand against Russia's "illegal, unjustifiable, and unprovoked" invasion of Ukraine and unveiled new sanctions on Moscow, in an indication that they would maintain their tough approach on the conflict at the G20 summit in India as well.

The G20 foreign ministers' meeting in Delhi in March was unable to come out with a joint communique due to a bitterly increasing rift between the US-led Western powers and Russia over the Ukraine conflict despite efforts by host India to bridge the differences.

On the first day of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, US President Joe Biden and other leaders of the grouping strongly condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and vowed to step up economic sanctions on Moscow.

The G7 comprises the US, the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Canada and Japan. Japan, the current chair of the grouping, invited India and seven other countries to the summit.

All the G7 countries are also members of the G20 grouping. India is holding the presidency of the G20.

India has been focusing on ensuring consensus for a joint communique at the G20 summit in September. The G20 also comprises Russia and China.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Hiroshima on Friday to attend three sessions at the G7 summit.

"At our meeting today in Hiroshima, we, the Leaders of the G7, reaffirmed our commitment to stand together against Russia's illegal, unjustifiable, and unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine," a statement issued by the G7 leaders said.

"We condemn, in the strongest terms, Russia's manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations (UN) and the impact of Russia's war on the rest of the world," it said.

The G7 leaders also criticised Russia's "irresponsible nuclear rhetoric".

"Russia's irresponsible nuclear rhetoric, undermining of arms control regimes, and stated intent to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus are dangerous and unacceptable. We recall the statement in Bali of all G20 leaders, including Russia," they said.

"In this context, we reiterate our position that threats by Russia of nuclear weapon use, let alone any use of nuclear weapons by Russia, in the context of its aggression against Ukraine are inadmissible," they added.

The G7 leaders said 15 months of Russian aggression has cost thousands of lives, inflicted immense suffering on the people of Ukraine, and imperiled access to food and energy for many of the world's most vulnerable people.

"We salute the Ukrainian people for their brave resistance. Our support for Ukraine will not waver. We will not tire in our commitment to mitigate the impact of Russia's illegal actions on the rest of the world," the leaders' statement said.

"Today we are taking new steps to ensure that Russia's illegal aggression against the sovereign state of Ukraine fails and to support the Ukrainian people in their quest for a just peace rooted in respect for international law," it said.

The G7 leaders also announced renewing their commitment to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support to Ukraine.

"We are imposing further sanctions and measures to increase the costs to Russia and those who are supporting its war effort," they said in the statement.

The G7 leaders also urged Russia to stop its aggression against Ukraine and "immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw its troops and military equipment" from Ukraine.

"We underline that a just peace cannot be realized without the complete and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops and military equipment, and this must be included in any call for peace," the statement said.

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