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G7 ministers present united front against Russia over Ukraine crisis

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The world’s wealthiest democracies on Saturday sought to present a united front against Russian aggression towards Ukraine as Britain hosted a meeting of foreign ministers in Liverpool, according to Reuters. 

The G7 meeting, attended in person by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his counterparts from France, Italy, Germany, Japan and Canada, comes amid international concern that Russia could invade Ukraine. Russia denies planning any attack.

British Foreign Minister Liz Truss met Blinken on Friday night where they expressed deep concern about the build-up of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border, the foreign office in London said in a statement.

“We need to defend ourselves against the growing threats from hostile actors and we need to come together strongly to stand up to aggressors who are seeking to limit the bounds of freedom and democracy,” Truss told foreign ministers at the start of the meeting. “To do this, we need to have a stronger united voice”

Ukraine is at the centre of a crisis in East-West relations as it accuses Russia of massing tens of thousands of troops in preparation for a possible large-scale military offensive. Russia accuses Ukraine and the United States of destabilising behaviour and has said it needs security guarantees for its own protection.

Washington is sending its top diplomat for Europe, Assistant Secretary Karen Donfried, to Ukraine and Russia on December 13-15 to meet with senior government officials.

“Assistant Secretary Donfried will emphasize that we can make diplomatic progress on ending the conflict in the Donbas through the implementation of the Minsk agreements in support of the Normandy Format,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

The G7 meeting is also expected to result in a joint call for Iran to moderate its nuclear programme and grasp the opportunity of ongoing talks in Vienna to revive a multilateral agreement on its nuclear development. 

Ministers from the European Union, Australia, South Korea and India will take part in some sessions as guests of the G7, along with representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.