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G7 Leaders Will Target Russian Energy And Trade In Fresh Sanctions Measures: Reuters


G7 Leaders Will Target Russian Energy And Trade In Fresh Sanctions Measures: Reuters
Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations want to increase sanctions on Russia at their summit in Japan this week, including actions aimed at energy and exports assisting Moscow's war effort, claimed a report by Reuters citing information from officials with direct knowledge of the deliberations.
According to the sources, new actions announced by the leaders during the May 19-21 meetings will target sanctions evasion involving third countries, harm Russia's future energy production, and limit trade that supports Russia's military.
Separately, officials in the United States anticipate that G7 nations would agree to change their approach to sanctions such that, at least for certain types of commodities, all exports are immediately barred unless they are on a list of permitted things.
The Biden administration has already urged G7 countries to modify the group's sanctions policy, which now enables all items to be supplied to Russia unless explicitly blacklisted.
This shift may make it more difficult for Moscow to exploit gaps in the sanctions framework.
While the allies have not decided to use the more stringent approach globally, US officials anticipate that in the most sensitive sectors for Russia's military, the G7 would adopt a presumption that exports are prohibited unless they are on a specified list.
The precise regions in which these new restrictions would apply are still being debated.
"You should expect to see, in a handful of spaces, particularly relating to Russia's defense industrial base, that change in presumption happen," said a U.S. official who declined to be named.
Before the summit, the specific text of the G7 leaders' joint declarations is still being negotiated and adjusted. The G7 is made up of the US, Japan, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
The G7 leaders' action on Russia comes as Ukraine's Western allies look for new ways to tighten already-restrictive sanctions on Russia, which range from export controls to visa restrictions and an oil price cap and have put pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin but have not stopped the full-scale invasion that began over a year ago.
Some US partners have objected to the idea of broadly prohibiting commerce and then giving category-by-category exemptions.
The European Union, for example, has its own approach and is presently preparing its 11th package of sanctions since Russia invaded Ukraine, the majority of which are aimed at people and countries attempting to dodge existing trade restrictions.
"The sometimes-discussed approach of 'we ban everything first and allow exceptions' will not work in our view," said one top German government official. "We want to be very, very precise and we want to avoid unintended side effects."
Meanwhile, any change in language by the G7 leaders, even language stating that certain commerce is prohibited unless specifically exempted, may not instantly result in new prohibitions or any change in Russia's approach.
"At least on day one, that change in presumption doesn't change the substance of what's allowed, but it matters for the long-term trajectory of where we're going and the restrictiveness of the overall regime," the U.S. official said.
Ukraine is likely to start major counter-offensive operations in the coming weeks, backed by Western armaments and finance, to retake portions of its east and south from Russian soldiers.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is in Europe this week, meeting with Pope Francis and officials from France, Italy, and Germany. According to officials, he will address G7 leaders either remotely or in person during their summit in Hiroshima.
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stated last month that a G7 decision to limit exports to the country would force Moscow to cancel a Black Sea grain pact that allows Ukraine to export essential grain.
The G7 is also anticipated to focus on food security in the aftermath of the war.