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G-7 Leaders condemn Russian “atrocities” in Ukraine

BRUSSELS (Jiji Press) — Leaders of the Group of Seven major powers on Thursday strongly condemned Russia for “atrocities” in towns near Kyiv in Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

The leaders from the seven countries—Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States—plus the European Union issued a statement that they “condemn in the strongest terms the appalling atrocities by Russian armed forces in Bucha and other Ukrainian towns.”

The condemnation followed the discoveries of what appeared to be civilian corpses in the Kyiv area after the withdrawal of Russian troops. The statement described the situation as “mass killing of civilians and noncombatants.”

“We underscore that those responsible for war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law, including the indiscriminate use of force or attacks intentionally targeting civilians, must be held accountable and brought to justice,” the statement also said.

The G-7 leaders confirmed they will work together to impose additional sanctions on Russia to ramp up economic pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop his war. “We will further raise the cost of this war for the architects” of this aggression—Putin and his accomplices—through coordinated action, they said.

The leaders also vowed to expedite their plans to reduce reliance on Russia for energy, including “phasing out and banning Russian coal imports,” and to accelerate work to reduce their dependence on Russian oil.

In addition, they agreed to prohibit fresh investments in Russia, including in the energy field, further extend export bans, continue to disconnect Russian banks from the global financial system and impose additional sanctions on Russian state-owned entities and the defense sector of the country.

Earlier on Thursday, the G-7 foreign ministers, including Japan’s Yoshimasa Hayashi, had a meeting in Brussels.

Hayashi expressed his indignation at the reported massacre in Bucha. He said his country will coordinate with its G-7 partners in imposing additional measures while continue to implement its sanctions on Russia steadily.

The G-7 also agreed to support efforts, including an investigation by the International Criminal Court, to hold those committing war crimes in Ukraine accountable.

The meeting was joined by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. The G-7 expressed their solidarity with the Ukrainian people and pledged to provide Ukraine with further military equipment and financial assistance.

The ministers agreed to step up humanitarian support to Ukrainian people, given food shortages and rising prices, and strengthen assistance to Moldova and other neighboring countries accepting Ukrainian refugees.

The European Union on Tuesday announced plans for additional sanctions on Moscow, including a ban on imports of Russian coal and the barring of Russian ships from EU ports.

The United States announced a set of sanctions Wednesday, including a halt on transactions with Sberbank, the largest financial institution in Russia, while Britain has said it will freeze Sberbank assets and ban imports of Russian coal.

In Brussels, NATO foreign ministers met with their counterparts from partner countries such as Ukraine, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Hayashi was in attendance, making him the first Japanese foreign minister to participate in a NATO meeting.