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Representative Image (Photo Credit - Reuters)
Representative Image (Photo Credit - Reuters)

G7 nations express 'grave concern' over military build-up in Ukraine, warn Russia of 'massive consequences'

ANI | Updated: Feb 20, 2022 02:40 IST

London [UK], February 20 (ANI): The G7 Foreign Ministers expressed their grave concern about Russia's 'threatening' military build-up around Ukraine, in 'illegally annexed' Crimea and in Belarus and warned Moscow of "massive consequences" upon any further aggression against Ukraine.
G7 countries include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America along with the High Representative of the European Union.
"Russia's unprovoked and unjustified massing of military forces, the largest deployment on the European continent since the end of the Cold War is a challenge to global security and the international order," said the joint statement by the Foreign Ministers on Saturday.
The G7 Foreign Ministers also warned Russia of "coordinated restrictive measures and massive consequences upon any further aggression against Ukraine".
"While we are ready to explore diplomatic solutions to address legitimate security concerns, Russia should be in no doubt that any further military aggression against Ukraine will have massive consequences, including financial and economic sanctions on a wide array of sectoral and individual targets that would impose severe and unprecedented costs on the Russian economy," the statement read.
They called on Russia to choose the path of diplomacy, to de-escalate tensions, to substantively withdraw military forces from the proximity of Ukraine's borders and to fully abide by international commitments including on risk reduction and transparency of military activities.
"As a first step, we expect Russia to implement the announced reduction of its military activities along Ukraine's borders. We have seen no evidence of this reduction. We will judge Russia by its deeds," as per the statement.

The ministers maintained that the path of diplomacy should be pursued. "We took note of Russia's latest announcements that it is willing to engage diplomatically. We underline our commitment vis-a-vis Russia to pursue dialogue on issues of mutual concern, such as European security, risk reduction, transparency, confidence-building and arms control," the statement read.
They reiterated their commitment to finding a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the current crisis, and urged Russia to take up the offer of dialogue through the US-Russia Strategic Stability Dialogue, the NATO-Russia Council, and the OSCE.
Talking about the OSCE European Security Dialogue, they stated, "We commend the Renewed OSCE European Security Dialogue launched by the Polish OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office and express our strong hope that Russia will engage in a constructive way."
The ministers further emphasized that any threat or use of force against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states goes against the fundamental principles that underpin the rules-based international order as well as the European peace and security order enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act, the Paris Charter and other subsequent OSCE declarations.
Upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the ministers said, "We reiterate our unwavering commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and territorial waters. We reaffirm the right of any sovereign state to determine its own future and security arrangements. We commend Ukraine's posture of restraint in the face of continued provocations and efforts at destabilization."
They also appreciated continued support for Germany's and France's efforts through the Normandy Process to secure the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements and acknowledged public statements by Ukrainian President Zelensky who underlined Ukraine's firm commitment to the Minsk Agreements.
Expressing their grave concerns towards the military build-up on Ukraine borders, the ministers said, "The increase in ceasefire violations along the line of contact in recent days is highly concerning. We condemn the use of heavy weaponry and indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas, which constitute a clear violation of the Minsk Agreements."
They also condemned that the Russian Federation continues to hand out Russian passports to the inhabitants of the non-government controlled areas of Ukraine and said that it runs counter to the spirit of the Minsk agreements.
Pointing out towards the recent escalations in the pro-Russian separatist Luhansk and Donetsk region the ministers said, "We are particularly worried by measures taken by the self-proclaimed "People's Republics" which must be seen as laying the ground for military escalation. We are concerned that staged incidents could be used as a pretext for possible military escalation." (ANI)