G7 ministers seek to present a ‘show of unity’ against Russia

Foreign minister of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised nations gathered in the British city of Liverpool have sought to demonstrate “a show of unity against global aggressors”, with the host, the United Kingdom, expressing deep concern about the build-up of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border.

The UK is seeking elusive consensus from the wealthy nations’ club in response to what it calls “malign behaviour” by Russia, and over tensions with China and Iran.

“We need to defend ourselves against the growing threats from hostile actors,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said as she opened the meeting of foreign ministers from the UK, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. “And we need to come together strongly to stand up to aggressors who are seeking to limit the bounds of freedom and democracy.”

The US and its NATO allies are concerned that the movement of Russian troops and weapons to the border region with Ukraine may be a prelude to an invasion and have said they would inflict heavy sanctions on Russia’s economy if that happens.

Moscow denies planning to attack Ukraine and accuses Kyiv of its own allegedly aggressive designs. The Kremlin has said it is alarmed by a Western push to supply Ukraine with high-tech weapons that it claims are being used by Kyiv to provoke Moscow.

On Friday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg rejected Russian demands to withdraw its invitation to Ukraine to join the military alliance.

Truss and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed how to deter Russia from “further aggression against Ukraine” in a one-on-one meeting, the US Department of State said. The UK said the two warned that a Russian incursion “would be a strategic mistake for which there would be serious consequences”.

The Department of State announced on Saturday that the top American diplomat for Europe, Karen Donfried, will visit both Kyiv and Moscow next week “to reinforce the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity” and to seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

After meeting with Ukrainian and Russian officials, Donfried will go on to Brussels to talk with NATO and European Union allies.

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