G7 sanctions aim to starve Russia of tech, equipment. What it means for India

May 19, 2023 10:26 PM IST

The G7 joint statement said they were imposing further sanctions and measures to increase costs to Russia and those who are supporting its Ukraine war effort

The Group of Seven (G7) nations on Friday unveiled new sanctions against Russia, including measures to starve Moscow of technology and industrial equipment – a move that can impact India’s efforts to forge consensus within the G20 over the divisive issue of the invasion of Ukraine.

Leaders of the seven largest economies meeting in the Japanese city of Hiroshima again denounced Moscow’s aggression (AFP)
Leaders of the seven largest economies meeting in the Japanese city of Hiroshima again denounced Moscow’s aggression (AFP)

Leaders of the seven largest economies meeting in the Japanese city of Hiroshima again denounced Moscow’s aggression and called on Russia to “immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw its troops” from Ukraine. They said Russia’s “irresponsible nuclear rhetoric, undermining of arms control regimes, and stated intent to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus” is dangerous and unacceptable.

The leaders of Japan, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the UK, the US and the European Union (EU) said in a joint statement after their meeting that they were “imposing further sanctions and measures to increase the costs to Russia and those who are supporting its war effort”.

An American official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US will blacklist 70 Russian and third-country entities involved in Russia’s defence production and sanction more than 300 individuals, entities, aircraft and vessels. “These will go after circumvention. These will go out for financial facilitators, as well as future energy and extractive capabilities of Russia and other actors helping to support the war,” the official said.

The UK will ban all imports of Russian diamonds, copper, aluminium and nickel, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on Twitter, while European Council President Charles Michel told reporters the 27-member bloc is closing loopholes and wants to restrict trade in Russian diamonds.

Michel also said the G7 will try to convince leaders of guest countries at the summit – which includes Australia, Brazil, Indonesia and India - of the importance of enforcing sanctions.

The G7 imposed a price cap of $60 a barrel on Russian oil last year, and the US has sanctioned thousands of Russian firms, officials and individuals, frozen Russian Central Bank funds and cut off access to SWIFT, the main system for global financial transactions.

The G7 joint statement said the sanctions were working and Russia’s revenues were down. “Global oil and gas prices have fallen significantly, benefiting countries around the world,” it said. These actions will be broadened to restrict exports of all items “critical to Russia’s aggression”, including industrial machinery, tools and other technology.

“We will starve Russia of G7 technology, industrial equipment and services that support its war machine,” the joint statement said.

Since it assumed the G20 presidency, India has struggled to forge consensus on the issue of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Both Russia and China have backed away from text used to refer to the Ukraine crisis in the joint communique issued at last year’s G20 Summit in Indonesia. Meetings of G20 foreign and finance ministers hosted by India have ended without consensus outcome documents because of differences on the text to refer to the Ukraine war.

With Japan making a push for nuclear disarmament at the G7 Summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threats too figured in deliberations on Friday. G7 leaders visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, dedicated to the tens of thousands who died in the first atomic bomb detonation in World War 2.

“With the Russian aggression into Ukraine, Putin keeps threatening the use of nuclear weapons. Having experienced the horrors of atomic bombs 77 years ago, Prime Minister [Fumio] Kishida wants to spearhead international efforts towards our ultimate goal to realise a world without nuclear weapons,” Japanese envoy Hiroshi Suzuki said in an interview before the summit.

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