G7 Foreign Ministers’ Statement on the illegal annexation of sovereign Ukrainian territory
Just a week ago, Russia announced it would mobilize 300,000 troops as it plans to hold referendums for joining four of the Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine into the Federation. Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and the highly sought-after Luhansk People’s Republics (LPR) and Donetsk People’s Republics (D.P.R.). The referendums took place this week, and the results undoubtedly favour joining Russia.
Eight years ago, Russia illegally annexed Crimea, and President Putin then publicly stated Ukraine belongs to Russia. Last night, Putin made good on his threats by signing treaties with all four newly annexed territories in an opulent ceremony declaring its expansion.
The latest attempt by Russia’s President is seen desperate effort to hold on to power. To the point that Putin has threatened to use nuclear weapons to end the war. Unfortunately, with unhinged dictators, it is hard to dismiss their words as empty threats. Since Putin has already shelled the Ukrainian nuclear power plant, the threat of using nukes on the Ukrainian people must be taken seriously.
Putin’s latest stunt was condemned by the United Nations and was prompted by all members of the G7 nations to issue a scathing statement that reads:
“We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, are united in our condemnation in the strongest possible terms of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and its continued violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.
“President Putin’s efforts to incorporate Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions into the territory of the Russian Federation constitute a new low point in Russia’s blatant flouting of international law, and yet another example of Russia’s unacceptable violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty, the UN Charter, and the commonly agreed principles and commitments of the Helsinki Final Act and the Paris Charter.
“We will never recognize these purported annexations, nor the sham “referenda” conducted at gunpoint.
“We reiterate our call for all countries to condemn unequivocally Russia’s war of aggression and its attempt to acquire territory by force. We call on the broader international community to reject Russia’s brutal expansionism, its efforts to deny Ukraine’s existence as an independent state, and its blatant violation of the international norms that guarantee international peace, security, and the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states.
“We will impose further economic costs on Russia, and on individuals and entities – inside and outside of Russia – that provide political or economic support to these violations of international law. We are unwavering in our support for Ukraine’s right to defend itself against Russia’s war of aggression and its unquestionable right to reclaim its territory from Russia.
“We reiterate our condemnation of Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric. It will not distract or dissuade us from supporting Ukraine, for as long as necessary.
“Russia must immediately stop its war of aggression, withdraw all of its troops and military equipment from Ukraine, and respect Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We reaffirm that the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya as well as Crimea are integral parts of Ukraine.”
With the war approaching nearly eight months of fighting, there is no end in sight as to how it will end or what will be Putin’s next move. One thing is certain, is the resiliency of Ukraine and its global allies, efforts to ensure Russia is held accountable for the road of atrocities and death.