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Britain seeks G7 ‘show of unity’ against Russia over Ukraine crisis

Britain's Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pose for a photograph, in Liverpool
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken wearing face masks to combat the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pose for a photograph before a bilateral meeting ahead of the G7 foreign ministers summit in Liverpool, Britain, December 10, 2021. Olivier Douliery/Pool via REUTERS

December 11, 2021

LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) – The world’s wealthiest democracies will on Saturday seek to present a united front against Russian aggression toward Ukraine when Britain hosts a meeting of foreign ministers in the northern English city of Liverpool.

The G7 meeting, attended in person by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his counterparts from France, Italy, Germany, Japan and Canada, comes amid international concern Russia could invade Ukraine. Russia denies planning any attack.

“What we have to do is deter Russia from taking that course of action,” British foreign minister Liz Truss told reporters ahead of the talks.

“What the G7 meeting this weekend .. is about, is about a show of unity between like-minded major economies, that we are going to absolutely be strong in our stance against aggression, against aggression with respect to Ukraine.”

Ukraine is at the centre of a crisis in East-West relations as it accuses Russia of massing tens of thousands of troops in preparation for a possible large-scale military offensive.

Russia accuses Ukraine and the United States of destabilising behaviour, and has said it needs security guarantees for its own protection.

AGE OF INTROSPECTION

Britain, as current chair of the G7, is calling for its members to be more strident in their defence of what it calls “the free world”.

Earlier this week Truss said the “age of introspection” for the West was over and it needed to wake up to the dangers of rival ideologies. She has highlighted the economic risks of Europe’s dependence on Russian gas and the wider security threat posed by Chinese technology as examples.

The G7 meeting is also expected to result in a joint call for Iran to moderate its nuclear programme and grasp the opportunity of ongoing talks in Vienna to revive a multilateral agreement on its nuclear development.

Germany, which takes over the rotating G7 leadership from Britain next year, is expected to set out its programme for 2022 at the meeting. Ministers from the European Union, Australia, South Korea and India will take part in some sessions as guests of the G7, along with representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

(Reporting by William James, Humeyra Pamuk and Alexander Ratz; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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