Foreign ministers from the G7 group of nations on Saturday, 19 February, released a joint statement indicating that they "remain gravely concerned about Russia’s threatening military build-up around Ukraine, in illegally annexed Crimea and in Belarus."
The foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America further reiterated their "unwavering commitment" towards the "sovereignty and territorial integrity" of Ukraine, and urged Russia to move towards a diplomatic solution.
The statement read:
"We call on Russia to choose the path of diplomacy, to de-escalate tensions, to substantively withdraw military forces from the proximity of Ukraine’s borders and to fully abide by international commitments."G-7 Joint Statement
“As a first step, we expect Russia to implement the announced reduction of its military activities along Ukraine’s borders. We have seen no evidence of this reduction,” they added.
The statement comes a day after a defence official of the US said that over 50 percent of the Russian forces along the Ukraine border were now in tactical positions to attack.
'Further Military Aggression Will Have Massive Consequences'
The G7 foreign ministers on Saturday also warned Russia of 'massive consequences' in case of any further military aggression in Ukrainian territory.
"While we are ready to explore diplomatic solutions to address legitimate security concerns, Russia should be in no doubt that any further military aggression against Ukraine will have massive consequences, including financial and economic sanctions on a wide array of sectoral and individual targets that would impose severe and unprecedented costs on the Russian economy."G-7 Joint Statement
Condemning Russia's ceasefire violations along the tense border areas, the foreign secretaries underlined Russia's disregard for the Minsk Agreements, calling upon the nation for de-escalation.
"Russia must de-escalate and fulfil its commitments in implementing the Minsk Agreements. The increase in ceasefire violations along the line of contact in recent days is highly concerning. We condemn the use of heavy weaponry and indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas, which constitute a clear violation of the Minsk Agreements," the statement on Saturday read.
The Minsk Agreements struck in 2014 and 2015 and named after the Belarus capital, aimed at ending the war between the government of Ukraine and the Russian-speaking secessionists in eastern Ukraine.