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G7 members pledge to supply Ukraine with weapons

G7 members pledge to supply Ukraine with weapons

dpa
Wangels, Germany
The members of the Group of Seven industrialized nations (G7) have announced their readiness to provide Ukraine with weapons for years to come if necessary, as the country fights for survival amid Russia’s ongoing invasion.
“We will pursue our ongoing military and defence assistance to Ukraine as long as necessary,” read a statement released by the G7 foreign ministers at the close of their talks in northern Germany on Saturday.
The ministers noted that Russia’s attack was unprovoked and that Ukraine had a right to self-defence. “We will never recognise border changes that Russia wants to force through military force,” said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.
The G7 ministers also called on Russia to end its naval blockade of Ukrainian grain exports in order to avert a major humanitarian crisis.
Ukraine is among the world’s top grain suppliers, ranked the third-largest exporter of barley and the fifth-largest exporter of wheat in 2021, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
Alternative routes for Ukrainian grain exports were a further key focus of the ministers’ talks, amid growing fears that the war in Ukraine could foment a global food crisis.
At the start of the meeting, Baerbock said that 25 million tons of grain were currently stuck in Ukrainian ports, particularly in the port city of Odessa. The grain is urgently needed in African countries and the Middle East, she said.
The ministers agreed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had served to darken the global economic outlook by causing soaring food, fuel and energy prices, with some 43 million people believed to be at risk of famine worldwide.
The war was having devastating consequences for some of the world’s most vulnerable people, the ministers said, adding that rising commodity costs had made it more difficult for aid organizations to provide help to those needing it most.
The ministers discussed alternative methods for exporting Ukrainian grain, noting the technical complications for rail transport and considering whether the crops could be exported from ports in the Baltic instead.
The G7 ministers’ meeting ended on Saturday without further protests, police said, after scattered demonstrations on Friday, including one organized by Greenpeace activists calling for the G7 to quit fossil fuels.
Later on Saturday, NATO foreign ministers were due to meet in Berlin to discuss the alliance’s long-term strategy, as well as the potential NATO membership of Finland and Sweden.
NATO has seen a sharp rise in its geopolitical relevance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and could soon be getting new members.
The Berlin meeting comes days after the leaders of long-neutral Finland endorsed NATO membership and its governing party also backed the move. Neighbouring Sweden is expected to announce its decision to join in the coming days.
Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde and Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto are expected to join the Berlin meeting, which is being hosted by Baerbock to kick off the final phase of negotiations on NATO’s Strategic Concept, its guiding document for the years ahead.
The concept is expected to provide a long-term response to the mounting tensions with Russia, including a clarification on how to further reinforce NATO’s presence in eastern Europe and, for the first time, guidance on China.

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