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G7 ‘will never recognize’ redrawn borders in Ukraine

Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) announced on Saturday that they will not accept any territorial gains by Russia in Ukraine.

“We will never recognize borders that Russia has attempted to change by military aggression,” G7 foreign ministers said in a statement concluding a meeting in Gut Weissenhaus, a luxurious seaside resort in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

The countries will uphold their “engagement in the support of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, including Crimea, and all states,” they added.

The statement — indicating that the West would not accept a peace deal forcing Ukraine to give up territories — comes amid Ukrainian concerns that Western countries might be willing to accept a deal at the expense of Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an interview on Thursday that French President Emmanuel Macron had asked Ukraine to make concessions on its sovereignty to help Russian President Vladimir Putin save face.

“We won’t help Putin save face by paying with our territory. That would be unjust,” Zelenskyy said. The Elysée rejected Zelenskyy’s allegations. 

In a press conference Saturday concluding the meeting of G7 foreign ministers, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the G7 has “a central role to play … to prevent the global effects of this war from plunging the world into an uncontrollable crisis: hunger, instability, energy insecurity, the creeping erosion of democratic values, but also of human rights through disinformation.”

She stressed that the G7 countries — “the strongest industrialized nations among the democracies” — have a special responsibility to act. “Therefore, ducking away, passivity or dithering and hesitation, and then in the end saying nothing at all, is not an option for us, for me personally,” she added.

Baerbock accused Russia of waging a “grain war” — not only against Ukraine but against “many countries in the world, especially Africa.”

Russia’s invasion is blocking Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea ports that normally take about 90 percent of food exports. The European Commission on Thursday unveiled its strategy to unblock borders with Ukraine and boost capacity on road and rail routes to export Ukrainian grain, in a bid to prevent a food crisis in areas like the Middle East and Africa.

Agriculture ministers of the G7, who concluded a separate meeting — joined by Ukraine’s agriculture minister, Mykola Solskyi — on Saturday in Stuttgart, vowed further support to Ukraine by committing to supply the Ukrainian population with food, supplying aid to Ukrainian farmers and supporting Ukraine in exporting agricultural products.

Germany will double its contribution to the Agricultural Market Information System — set up by the G20 and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and meant to enhance cooperation on policy responses for food security — with €80 million, said Cem Özdemir, Germany’s agriculture minister, who chaired the talks.

Hans von der Burchard contributed reporting.

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