G7 to Continue Working with Moscow to Settle Regional Crises

Top diplomats of the G7 countries have stressed that they will continue cooperating with Russia in settlement of regional crises, reads the joint statement adopted on Wednesday following the first in-person G7 meeting in two years, TASS reported.

The meetings were held in London between May 2 and 5 under the UK Presidency and involved representatives of the UK, Germany, Italy, Canada, the US, France and Japan as well as the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

“We will continue to engage with Russia in addressing regional crises and global challenges of common interest such as climate change; arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation; and peaceful, sustainable economic development and environmental protection in the Arctic,” the statement reads.

Seeking stability with Moscow

“We reiterate our interest in stable and predictable relations with Russia,” the G7 statement adds. “We nevertheless will continue to bolster our collective capabilities and those of our partners to address and deter Russian behaviour that is threatening the rules-based international order, including in the areas of cyberspace security and disinformation.”

The chief diplomats also mentioned “the large build-up of Russian military forces on Ukraine’s borders” as part of “the negative pattern of Russia’s irresponsible and destabilising behaviour.”

Western countries were repeatedly expressing concerns over remarks made by top Ukrainian brass saying that Russia was ramping up its troops along the Ukrainian border. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that movement of Russian troops across Russian territory should not raise concerns in other states because it does not threaten them in any way.

Russia has been consistently rejecting the West’s claims that Moscow’s actions can be characterized as reckless, aggressive and aimed against third countries as well as allegations of any disinformation campaigns.

Worsening diplomatic ties, Navalny and human rights

At the same time, the top G7 diplomats expressed “full solidarity with all partners” allegedly affected by actions linked to Russian intelligence services, vowing to react to them “with the staunchest resolve.” The chief Group of Seven diplomats “note with regret the deterioration in Russia’s relations with Western countries, and stress the importance of respecting the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations as the essential foundation of diplomatic relations between states.”

Touching upon the topic of human rights in Russia, the meeting participants said that they are “deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Russia, and the systematic crackdown on opposition voices, human rights defenders, independent civil society, and media.”

The Group of Seven also mentioned the issue of alleged poisoning of blogger Alexey Navalny, calling for its investigation.

Preparation for summit

The statement serves as a basis for the declaration of the G7 leaders who will meet at Carbis Bay, Cornwall in the UK between June 11 and 13.