The statement by the Group of Seven – France, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States – did not specify exactly what commitments each country will make to move away from Russian energy.
But it was an important development in the ongoing campaign to pressure Putin by paralyzing Russia’s economy, and underscores the international community’s unity against Moscow’s actions.
“We are committed to gradually ending our dependence on Russian energy, including by phasing out or banning the import of Russian oil. We will ensure we do so in a timely and orderly manner, and in a manner that gives the world time to secure alternative supplies,” the joint statement said.
“This will hit the main artery of Putin’s economy and deny him the revenue he needs to fund his war,” the White House said.
The announcement came as the G7 held its third meeting of the year via video conference on Sunday, which was attended by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The West has so far shown close coordination in its sanctions announcements against Russia, but not at the same pace when it comes to Russian oil and gas.
The United States, which was not a big consumer of Russian hydrocarbons, has already banned their import.
But Europe is far more dependent on Russian oil. The European Union has already said it intends to reduce its reliance on Russian gas by two-thirds this year, although Germany has opposed calls for a full boycott, with member states continuing intense negotiations on Sunday.
The G7 also personally criticized Putin for his actions in Ukraine.
The Russian president’s “unprovoked war of aggression” against its eastern European neighbor “brought shame on Russia and the historic sacrifices of its people,” the group said in its statement.
“Russia has violated the order based on international rules, in particular the UN Charter, which was conceived after World War II to protect subsequent generations from the scourge of war,” the statement continued.
The date of the G7 meeting on Sunday is highly symbolic: on May 8, Europeans commemorate the end of the Second World War in Europe.
Sunday’s meeting also comes on the eve of the May 9 military parade in Russia marking the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany.
Washington on Sunday announced a new round of sanctions against Russia in a White House statement, focusing on two main areas: the media and access for Russian companies and wealthy individuals to world-leading US accounting and consulting services.
The US will sanction the Joint Stock Company Channel One Russia, TV channel Russia-1 and the Joint Stock Company NTV Broadcasting Company. Any US company is prohibited from funding them through advertising or the sale of equipment.
“US companies should not be in the business of funding Russian propaganda,” said a senior White House official, who requested anonymity and stressed that these media outlets are directly or indirectly controlled by the Kremlin.
Another line of attack from Washington: the ban on the provision of “accounting, trust and business formation and business consulting services to any person in the Russian Federation,” according to the White House.
These services are used to run multinational companies, but may also be used to evade sanctions or hide ill-gotten wealth, the White House official said.
The official stressed that while Europeans have the closest industrial ties with Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom dominate the world of accounting and consulting, particularly through the “Big Four” – the four global accounting and consulting giants Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC.
Washington has also announced new bans on the export of American products to Russia, covering a range of capital goods from bulldozers to ventilation systems and boilers.
The United States announced Sunday it would impose visa restrictions on 2,600 Russian and Belarusian officials, as well as sanctions on Sberbank and Gazprombank officials.
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