Tokyo (The Times Groupe)- Leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations (G7) on Sunday committed to ban or phase out the import of Russian oil — the latest step to pressure Moscow into ending its war in Ukraine.
As a resource-poor country that has been importing Russian crude to diversify its supply sources, Japan had been hesitant to ban Russian oil imports. However, Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida said his country will take measures to ban such imports in principle during the virtual meeting of G7 leaders.
According to the White House, the entire G7’s commitment will “hit hard at the main artery” of the Russian economy and deny Vladimir Putin the revenue he needs to fund the war.
U.S. sanctions have already been implemented against Russian oil, gas, and coal imports due to the invasion of its neighbor.
“It is a very difficult decision, but the unity of the G7 is essential now,” Kishida told reporters.
“Japan, which has already decided to phase out Russian coal imports, will gradually start doing the same with Russian oil, but will maintain its interests in oil and gas projects in the Russian Far East, because they “contribute to stable supply of inexpensive energy in the long term,” he said.
The Japanese prime minister did not give a timetable for implementing the measures, saying only that Japan will reduce or halt imports “given the current situation.”
Japan imported 3.6% of its crude oil from Russia in 2021, with major suppliers located in the Middle East.
In a statement, the G7 stated, “We commit to phase out our dependence on Russian energy, including by banning the import of Russian oil.”
“We will make sure that we do so in a timely and orderly manner, and that we allow the world to secure alternative supplies,” it added.
Additionally, the G7 said members will take measures to prohibit or otherwise prevent the provision of key services on which Moscow depends, as part of an effort to further isolate Russia across all sectors of its economy.
In addition, sanctions will be imposed on additional individuals who support Putin’s war effort, according to the statement.
On its part, the United States announced sanctions against three highly viewed state-controlled television stations in Russia and said it would prohibit U.S. citizens from providing accounting and management consulting services to any person in Russia.
Also sanctioned were 27 executives of Gazprombank, a bank that facilitates business for Russian energy giant Gazprom.
The G7 includes Britain, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States. Ukraine’s presidentin defeating Nazi Germany in World War II.
The Kremlin may want to mark the day with some kind of “victory” in the Ukraine conflict, which has not gone according to plan despite fierce resistance from the Ukrainians since it began in late February.