The Group of Seven summit will be held in Hiroshima, Japan, from May 19-22.
Pool | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Leaders of the Group of Seven have introduced a set of measures to add pressure on Russia as its invasion of Ukraine continues for a second year.
G-7 leaders are in Hiroshima, Japan, for a three-day meeting to discuss international trade and security as the U.S. and China battle for influence in a multipolar world amid concerns of their decoupling, and as the Ukraine war continues.
“We will starve Russia of G-7 technology, industrial equipment and services that support its war machine,” the group said in a statement released late Friday.
The newly announced sanctions build on previous measures and will be broadened to “ensure that exports of all items critical to Russia’s aggression including those used by Russia on the battlefield are restricted across all our jurisdictions, including exports of industrial machinery, tools, and other technology that Russia uses to rebuild its war machine,” the G-7 said in its statement.
A senior U.S. administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, had previewed the measures early Friday morning, noting that the government plans to introduce steps to “economically isolate” Russia to weaken its ability to wage war.
“We will continue to expand export controls to make it even harder for Russia to sustain its war machine,” the senior official told reporters, emphasizing that the U.S. government’s “commitment to continue tightening the screws on Russia remains as strong as it was last year.”
The restrictions were announced as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to fly to Japan to attend the G-7 summit.
The G-7 added that it has “dramatically reduced” its reliance on Russia’s energy supplies and commodities.
“We are determined to continue on this path so that Russia is no longer able to weaponize energy against us,” it said in the statement. “We will further reduce reliance on civil nuclear and related goods from Russia, including working to assist countries seeking to diversify their supplies,” it said.
Those developments come as the United Kingdom separately imposed more sanctions on Russia under a legislation to be introduced later in the year.
“The U.K. is today announcing a ban on Russian diamonds, an industry worth $4 billion in exports in 2021, as well as imports of Russian-origin copper, aluminium and nickel,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office said in a Friday release.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaking to political journalists on board a government plane as he heads to Japan to attend the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima, on May 17, 2023.
Stefan Rousseau | Afp | Getty Images
“As today’s sanctions announcements demonstrate, the G7 remains unified in the face of the threat from Russia and steadfast in our support for Ukraine,” Sunak said.
The G-7 announced intentions to limit trade in diamonds of Russian origin.
“In order to reduce the revenues that Russia extracts from the export of diamonds, we will continue to work closely together to restrict trade in and use of diamonds mined, processed or produced in Russia and engage with key partners with the aim of ensuring effective implementation of future coordinated restrictive measures, including through tracing technologies,” the group said.
However, the additional efforts to squeeze Russia’s economy are unlikely to make a significant impact, according to George Washington University research professor of international affairs, Robert Orttung.
“The new restrictive sanctions on Russia will have minimal impact on world trade. None of these measures are likely to get Russia to stop its war on Ukraine since Putin is fully committed to that and the sanctions are not harming Russia’s ability to operate on a day-to-day basis,” he said in an email.
“Since China and India are not participating in the sanctions, Russia still has plenty of trading partners,” he added.
Orttung noted that the measures to heighten economic pressure on Russia would be symbolically important when combined with extensive military aid to Ukraine.
“The most helpful outcome for world trade will be an end to the war that blocks Russia from further aggression,” he said.
“Everything that the West can do to increase Ukrainian fighting capacity and weaken Russia moves us closer to this goal.”