ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
Ukraine war

G-7 vows 'forceful' response if Russia attacks Ukraine as talks continue

Japan maps out sanction response while U.S. closes embassy in Kyiv

German armed forces prepare to transport howitzers to Lithuania at a military base in Munster, Germany, on Feb. 14.   © Reuters

BERLIN/TOKYO -- Russian military aggression against Ukraine would be met with a "swift, coordinated and forceful response" against Moscow, Group of Seven finance ministers said Monday in a joint statement, while the Kremlin stressed dialogue could yet bring peace.

The developments came on a day that saw Russian President Vladimir Putin attending a televised meeting in Moscow with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and asking him about the possibility of a peaceful solution to the crisis.

"It seems to me that our possibilities are far from exhausted," Lavrov said. "At this stage, I would suggest continuing and building them up."

The Russian take on the situation stood in contrast to a sternly worded statement released by the G-7 ministers.

"We are prepared to collectively impose economic and financial sanctions which will have massive and immediate consequences on the Russian economy," the G-7 statement warned.

The statement expressed "grave concern" about the Russian military buildup on Ukraine's borders. The ministers support a diplomatic path to de-escalation while being prepared to "act swiftly and decisively to support the Ukrainian economy," it said.

The ministers noted the G-7 and international financial institutions have provided more than $48 billion in economic support to Kyiv since 2014. Russia annexed Crimea that year.

"We will continue to monitor the situation very closely and stand ready to act in a strongly coordinated manner and at very short notice with further economic and financial support for Ukraine," the statement said.

As tensions mounted, the U.S. said it would close its embassy in Kyiv and relocate operations to Lviv, a city in western Ukraine near the Polish border. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the relocation was temporary and would be made to protect embassy staff.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Monday to discuss measures to avert an invasion before the German leader meets with President Putin on Tuesday.

At a press conference after the meeting, Scholz expressed solidarity with Ukraine, saying, "We stand by Ukraine." 

According to a high-ranking German government official, Scholz intends to warn Putin that an invasion of Ukraine would have "grave consequences." 

For its part the Japanese government is moving forward with concrete discussions about proposed sanctions. Before the National Security Council meeting, Prime Minister Fumio updated top officials from relevant ministries about the issue Sunday. The foreign, economic and finance ministries will work out the details.

Toshimitsu Motegi, secretary-general of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, told reporters Monday that Japan is in talks with the U.S. and major European nations about the content of the potential sanctions.

After the 2014 annexation of Crimea, the U.S., Canada, the European Union and individual European countries responded with a range of sanctions, including asset freezes and travel restrictions targeting key Russian officials, bans on exports of military goods, and restricted access to financial markets. They targeted the sensitive energy sector as well, barring exports of technology used in oil exploration.

Japan joined that effort, restricting securities offerings to Russian financial institutions and exports of weapons and technology with military applications.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more