The foreign ministers of the G7 countries warned Russia that there would be “massive consequences” and “severe costs” for Russia if it pursued further military aggression against Ukraine.
In a joint statement, the top diplomats of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the High Representative of the European Union said they “are united in…condemnation of Russia’s military build-up and aggressive rhetoric towards Ukraine.”
They called on Russia “to de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels, and abide by transparency of military activities as President Biden did in his call with President Putin on 7 December.”
In a briefing after that call, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said President Biden “told President Putin directly that if Russia further invades Ukraine, the United States and our European allies would respond with strong economic measures. We would provide additional defensive materiel to the Ukrainians above and beyond that which we are already providing. And we would fortify our NATO Allies on the eastern flank with additional capabilities in response to such an escalation.”
National Security Advisor Sullivan said that President Biden told President Putin that there was another option: de-escalation and diplomacy.
There are several venues, he noted, where the United States and its European allies could engage in a discussion with Russia that would include our strategic concerns as well as Russia’s –- the NATO-Russia Council and the OSCE, among them. The United States is also prepared to help facilitate implementation of the Minsk agreements in support of the Normandy Format.
In an interview with NBC News, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said U.S. allies, including those in the G7, are “equally resolute in their determination to stand against Russian aggression, to ideally deter it, prevent it…But if Russia continues to take reckless and aggressive actions, we will respond.”
Secretary Blinken emphasized that the commitment by the United States and its allies to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, is resolute. “But,” he said, “there is something even bigger at stake here, and it’s the basic rules of the road of the international system, rules that say that one country can’t change the borders of another by force; one country can’t dictate to another country its choices…
“That’s what Russia is purporting to assert,” declared Secretary Blinken, “and if we let that go with impunity, then the entire system that provides for stability, prevents war from breaking out is endangered.”