G7 foreign chiefs agree to impose sanctions on Belarus

BERLIN (Jiji Press) — Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven major countries, in an emergency online meeting Sunday, agreed to impose sanctions on Belarus, saying that the country is providing help to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In the meeting, the ministers “expressed their profound condemnation of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, enabled by Belarus,” said a statement released after the talks by the German government, which holds this year’s G-7 presidency.

“The G-7 have brought forward massive and coordinated sanctions, including on Belarus as it facilitates the Russian assault,” the statement said. “The G-7 will continue to take further steps if Russia does not stop its war of aggression against Ukraine.”

The ministers urged all U.N. member states to take a clear stance vis-a-vis Russia’s aggression and condemn its actions in the United Nations, notably the U.N. General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.

Also at the meeting, the ministers discussed in-depth further strong measures in support of Ukraine and its people, including security and cyber assistance and support to fight disinformation spread by Russia.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba joined the G-7 meeting. The G-7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States plus the European Union.

Attending the meeting from Japan, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi expressed support for the initiative by the United States and the European Union to exclude some Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT, as a fresh financial sanction on Russia. He also explained about Japan’s plan to provide Ukraine with $100 million in emergency humanitarian aid.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Sunday that the EU will hit Belarus with a new package of sanctions, claiming that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime “is complicit in this vicious attack against Ukraine.” The EU will stop importing Belarusian products ranging from mineral fuels to tobacco, while halting exports of goods that may be converted for military use to Belarus.