G7 united against Russia's 'maligned behaviour'

G7 united against Russia's 'maligned behaviour'
The G7's foreign ministers conference in Canada on Sunday slammed Russia's maligned behaviour across the world, noting its aggression in Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere.
2 min read
23 April, 2018
Russia backs the regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad [Getty]
Seven of the world's biggest industrialised nations (known as the G7) presented a stern common front against Russia's alleged aggression across the world, at their foreign ministers conference in Toronto on Sunday.

The G7 opposed Russia's "malign behaviour" in Syria, Kremlin's alleged attacks on western democracy, its involvement in the Ukraine crisis and alleged attempt to kill a defector with a nerve agent on British soil.

"There was G7 unity on opposing Russia's malign behaviour," a senior US official told reporters, citing Moscow's failure to prevent Syrian forces from using chemical weapons and interference in Western elections.

The senior US official stressed that this month's joint US, French and British airstrikes against Assad's chemical sites were "not a one-off but was part of a sustained allied campaign to reestablish the deterrent against chemical weapons, and that includes using military means again if necessary".

France's President Emmanuel Macron - who begins a series of meetings with Trump on Monday - said in an interview that the West must stand up to Putin's attacks on western democracy, including the spreading of "fake news".

"He's strong and smart. But don't be naive. He's obsessed by interference in our democracies," Macron told Fox News Sunday before setting off for Washington. 

"That's why I do believe that we should never be weak with President Putin. When you are weak, he uses it."

Meanwhile, Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland who hosted the meeting invited her G7 colleagues plus the European Union's representative to a working lunch to discuss the crisis in Ukraine, where Russian-backed rebels have seized an eastern region.

Later, she said G7 members had "reaffirmed our unity in support of Ukraine and a rules-based international order where state sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by all."

After the foreign affairs meeting, the ministers will be joined on Monday by their domestic security counterparts and discussions will be widened to encompass counterterrorism and cyber security.