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G7 Voices Concern Over China-Russia Alliance And Mideast Escalation

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Group of Seven (G7) major powers warned China on Friday to stop Russia’s war on Ukraine, while urging de-escalation in the Middle East after a suspected Israeli attack on an Iranian military base.

The G7 pledged to bolster Ukraine’s air defenses to counter increasingly deadly Russian attacks, partly supported by thousands of kamikaze drones supplied by Iran. The United States and the European Union major powers this week pledged to impose more sanctions on entities involved in Iranian weapons proliferation.

Foreign ministers from the G7, comprising the United States, Italy, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Britain, wrapped up three days of talks on the island of Capri that were dominated by wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.

They acknowledged they had to do more to help Ukraine, which is struggling to hold off stronger Russian forces, and urged de-escalation in the Middle East, where the deep enmity between Israel and Iran risks triggering a wider regional conflict.

DE-ESCALATION

The foreign ministers’ summit ended shortly after what sources described as an Israeli attack on Iran in retaliation for a recent Iranian drone and missile assault on Israel.

The G7 ministers said they would work to prevent conflict between Israel and Iran spiralling out of control, while simultaneously seeking to end the war in Gaza.

“The political objective of the G7 is de-escalation. We have worked and continue to work to be active players in securing de-escalation throughout the Middle East,” Tajani said.

But the ministers also said the multitude of global crises was pulling leading democracies closer together.

“We emerge from this meeting of the foreign ministers more united than ever,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

An informal alliance has emerged between Iran, Russia, China and North Korea since 2022 when the Russian invasion of Ukraine hit a snag, with Kyiv’s forces pushing back the initial Russian advance. However, a delay in US aid, triggered by some Republicans in the US Congress, and Europe running low on military hardware, has starved Ukraine of critical weapons systems.

The US House of Representatives might, however, finally get to vote on a $61 billion package for Kyiv this weekend.

Alarmed by growing Russian momentum on the battlefield, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba came to Capri in person to tell G7 allies that they needed to send more aid, saying wars in his home country and the Middle East were linked.

Iran supplies Russia with the same type of armed drones that were used last week as part of its large-scale attack on Israel.

“The narrative that the West has to choose between supporting Israel or Ukraine is wrong because these are two theatres of the same war,” Kuleba told reporters.

The G7 said in a statement it would increase security assistance for Kyiv, specifically bolstering “Ukraine’s air defence capabilities to save lives and protect critical infrastructure”.

Two years after launching its invasion, Russia has been targeting key Ukrainian energy infrastructure, killing hundreds of civilians in its strikes. Russia says the energy system is a legitimate target and denies targeting civilians.

CHINA

Blinken said that, while North Korea and Iran were the main suppliers of weapons to Russia, China was the “primary contributor” to Moscow’s defence industry.

“If China purports on the one hand to want good relations with Europe and other countries, it can’t, on the other hand, be fuelling what is the biggest threat to European security since the end of the Cold War,” he said.

Echoing that sentiment, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters that Berlin could not tolerate seeing China forging closer ties with Russia.

“If China openly pursues an ever-closer partnership with Russia, which is waging an illegal war against Ukraine, … we cannot accept this,” she said at the end of the Capri meeting.

With reporting by Reuters