• Wed
  • Sep 3, 2014
  • Updated: 12:34am
CommentInsight & Opinion

G7 can play pivotal role in bolstering security in Ukraine

Andrew Hammond warns that new president faces massive challenges

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 June, 2014, 7:13pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 2:58am

The G7 meets in Brussels this week for a summit whose focal point will be the Ukraine crisis. Following the election of Petro Poroshenko as the country's next president, leaders from the US, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada will discuss how best to enable the goals of Ukrainian territorial integrity and promote wider economic and political stability in the country.

Despite an extensive wider agenda for the summit, the core security theme will be reinforced by the historical commemorative events this week for the 70th anniversary of the second world war D-Day landings.

The G7 meeting comes at a key moment in Ukraine, with some viewing the election of the pro-Western billionaire Poroshenko - who served as foreign minister from 2009 to 2010 and trade minister in 2012 - as a watershed moment. However, the challenges ahead of him are massive.

To this end, the G7 will consider further measures to stabilise the new government in Kiev, including an energy security plan, which could be unveiled at the summit. The plan aims to weaken the potential for Russia to use energy as a political weapon against Ukraine this coming winter by cutting off gas supplies.

Proposals under consideration include eliminating US export restrictions on shale gas, and building more liquid gas terminals in Europe to supply Ukraine. More broadly, European leaders are also looking to reduce their own dependence on Russian gas, which accounts for 40 per cent of the continent's overall gas supply. To lower this figure, Europe is reportedly planning to expand supply from Africa and invest in new pipeline infrastructure to transport gas from west to east Europe.

On the aid front, the US, European Union and International Monetary Fund have pledged a financial package reportedly of around US$27 billion to Ukraine over the next two years.

This is one reason why Poroshenko called last week not just for stronger G7 sanctions on Russia, but also more direct military aid and assistance to Ukraine. And he wants this underpinned by a new security treaty.

The central role of the G7 in orchestrating the West's response to Russia's annexation of Crimea underlines the organisation's often under-appreciated importance as an international security linchpin. To be sure, this fact is not without criticism. Some, for instance, highlight that the G7 lacks the legitimacy of the United Nations, and/or is a historical artefact, given the rise of new economic powers, including China, India and Brazil, which have larger economies than many existing G7 members.

While such criticism is valid, the fact remains that the G7/G8 (which includes Russia) has accumulated a significant track record in the security field, despite the fact that it was originally conceived to monitor developments in the world economy and assess economic policies.

An early example of the potentially powerful security role that the G7 can play in world affairs was in the 1970s and 1980s when it helped coordinate the Western strategy towards the then-Soviet Union.

More recently, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the G8 assumed a key role in the US-led campaign against terrorism.

Taken overall, G7 leaders will therefore be keen to use this week's platform to bolster their response to the crisis following the election of Poroshenko. While his election offers a new opportunity to stabilise the Kiev government, the situation in the country could yet deteriorate significantly in the months ahead.

Andrew Hammond is an associate at LSE IDEAS and a former UK government special adviser


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This article is now closed to comments

G7 sanctions on Russia are too light.
There has been a lot of political rehetoric from G7 leaders while at the same time industries in these countries continue to do business with Russia.
Major factor pushing Russia into a recession is the huge capital flight. The European Central Bank says as much as €160 billion has fled Russia since the Ukrainian crisis erupted in November 2013. The combination of capital flight plus the lack of interest from western investors to invest in Russia has created a capital shortfall.
To avoid deeper and wider sanctions Putin has pulled back some of the 40,000 Russian troops from the Ukraine border BUT has arranged for Chechen, Cossacks, Crimean and other Russian mercenaries to cross into eastern Ukraine to direct and support the pro-Russian rebels.
Putin is counting on that his clandestine war will not trigger additional G 7 sanctions and this strategy appears to be working as the G7 has naively elected not to impose a 3rd level of sanctions.
For the G7 to take the pressure off Putin is a HUGE mistake - he will do nothing to block the inflow of Russian mercenaries and arms into eastern Ukraine - Putin will talk peace while his proxies continue to tear eastern Ukraine apart.
G7 needs to defend the Ukraine NOW while they can before Putin takes over the eastern regions in addition to the C
A Matsui
G7? Security for Ukraine? Are you crazy? The US, Britain and Canada or the Anglos have their lovely unending wars killing millions of Muslims and looting their wealth to be that interested in Ukraine. Japan just can't wait to change it's peace constitution into a war constitution in order to join the US, Britain and Canada in their orgies of war and violence but Ukraine is not in the picture because of the fearsome Russian Bear with their thousands of nuclear missiles and nuclear bombs. After taking two atomic blasts at the hands of their slave master the US, Japan probably don't want a knock out blow from the Russian Bear that could make the Japanese as close to being extinct as the poor endangered whales they hunt. Germany still hesitant with all the wars and violence after the fiasco of the Third Reich. France still busy with neo-colonialism in Africa and the Middle East. Italy still recovering from Silvio Berlusconi "Bunga Bunga" and in any case after thousands of years of being Top Dog as the Roman Empire, Italians are not interested in all the wars and bloodletting which is why you have a lot of "Bunga Bunga"! However only the Italians with their charms and love will be able to solve the Ukrainian problem. Putin is certainly a loving man too. A bit of "Bunga Bunga" and his heart will melt and there will be peace in Ukraine for the next 1,000 years with the added bonus of very cheap gas for the Ukrainian brothers of the Russians. After all, brothers are still brothers.


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