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The foreign ministers of the G7 countries — including Secretary of State Antony Blinken — on Saturday pledged their “unwavering commitment” to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of a Russian buildup of military force at its border.
“We reiterate our unwavering commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and territorial waters,” the statement from the foreign ministers of the U.S, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom said in a statement.
“We reaffirm the right of any sovereign state to determine its own future and security arrangements. We commend Ukraine’s posture of restraint in the face of continued provocations and efforts at destabilization,” it said.
The statement comes as Western leaders seek to show a united front against what is feared to be an imminent invasion by Russia into Ukraine.
She said that the United States would prefer a diplomatic resolution, and that the path remains open, but if Russia invades, “we are prepared to implement and to do that work in a unified way with our allies around the world.”
Zelenskyy, meanwhile, proposed a meeting with Putin as a way to potentially de-escalate tensions at the border, where an estimated 150,000 troops have gathered. President Biden said Friday he is “convinced” that Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a decision to invade Ukraine in the coming days.
The G7 ministers condemned Russia’s “Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified massing of military forces” and described it as a challenge to global security and the international order.”
“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 including on risk reduction and transparency of military activities,” they said, calling for reduction of military activities as a first step.
“We will judge Russia by its deeds,” the ministers said.
The U.S. believes Russia is engaging in a “false flag” operation as both Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of shelling in the country’s east and that an invasion into Ukraine “will happen in the next several days.”
“They have not moved their troops out. They’ve moved more troops in,” Biden said. “Every indication we have is they’re prepared to go into Ukraine, attack Ukraine.”
The G7 ministers said that they are concerned that “staged incidents” by self-proclaimed “People’s Republics” could be being used as a pretext for escalation, and called on Russia to use its influence over the “republics” to de-escalate.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.