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The G7 Brussels Summit Substantial Success
in Supporting Ukraine

John Kirton
Director, G8 Research Group
June 4, 2014

On its defining challenge of Ukraine and its relationship with Russia, the G7 Brussels Summit produced a substantial success. The key elements were confirmed in its G7 Leaders' Communiqué, June 2014 – Foreign Policy, released late on June 4th, after the summit's opening dinner.

The communiqué reiterated the fundamental elements of its unified position — "the unacceptable interference in Ukraine's sovereign affairs by the Russia Federation," support for the "sovereignty and territorial integrity" of Ukraine, and a condemnation of "Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea" that "must stop."

It offered strong political support for Ukraine's new president and the inclusive approach that he has pursued. It also offered material support, first by welcoming the $35 billion already pledged and adding "an international donor coordination mechanism" and a "high level coordination meeting in Brussels" to endure the "effective delivery of economic assistance." This offered the prospect that more money would be mobilized and flow to good effect.

The G7 leaders also identified the key conditions which Russia must now meet. They "recognize the results of the election, complete the withdrawal of its military forces on the border with Ukraine, stop the flow of weapons and militants across the border and to exercise its influence among armed separatists to lay down their weapons and renounce violence." This showed the strong consensus of all G7 leaders that Russia was responsible for the current actions to destabilize eastern Ukraine. It also strongly implied, but did not say, that if these specific conditions were not met, as they seemed unlikely to be, the G7 would escalate the sanctions. Thus paragraph 5 stated; "We stand ready to intensify targeted sanctions and to implement significant additional measures to impose further costs on Russia should events so require."

To be sure, the G7 did not specify what these events would be, nor explicitly link further sanctions to the fulfilment of the conditions specified in the paragraph above. Nor did its speak about the future relationship of the G7 with Russia or the future of a G7 or G8. It was clear that G7 leaders again wished to try a dialogue with Russian president Vladimir Putin, starting for some the very next day. Whether this blend of carrots and sticks would work would depend on what Putin did. But his choice should be known very soon. And it would depend not only on the united G7 leaders set of conditions and threat of sanctions, but also on the military support that the US and Canadian leaders announced on their trip to Brussels, and on the increasingly will and skill of the Ukrainian government and people in fighting the Russian insurgents to make their country whole and free.

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