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(AP)

Britain’s top diplomat welcomed Group of Seven foreign ministers to Liverpool on Saturday with a warning that “free democratic nations” must wean themselves off Russian gas and Russian money to preserve their independence.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is hosting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other G-7 counterparts for weekend talks in the northwest England port city as the wealthy nations club faces growing tensions with Russia, China and Iran.

As concern mounts about Russia’s troop build-up near Ukraine, Truss said the G-7 meeting would be “a show of unity between like-minded major economies that we are going to absolutely be strong in our stance against aggression, against aggression with respect to Ukraine.”

Truss told broadcasters that a military move on Ukraine would be “a strategic mistake” with “severe consequences” for Moscow. The U.S. and its NATO allies are concerned Russia’s movement of troops and weapons to the border region may be a prelude to invasion, and say they will inflict heavy sanctions on Russia’s economy if that happens.

Moscow denies planning to attack Ukraine and accuses Kyiv of its own allegedly aggressive designs.

Truss said she wanted to work with other countries “to make sure that free democratic nations are able to have an alternative to Russian gas supplies,” a reference to the contentious Nord Stream 2 pipeline carrying gas from Russia to Germany.

The Liverpool meeting will be the first international gathering for Germany’s new foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, a politician from the environmentalist Greens who has previously opposed Nord Stream 2.

Britain is not very dependent on Russian gas, but London’s financial district and property market are major hubs for Russian money. U.K. authorities have long been accused of turning a blind eye to ill-gotten funds from around the world.

Truss insisted Britain is willing to consider new economic measures to protect its “core values.”

“There have been decisions made by the free world … in the short term to obtain cheap energy or cheap financing, and that has a long-term cost for freedom and democracy,” she said. “And we can’t make that mistake again.”

The diplomats will also discuss China’s muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific and lagging efforts to vaccinate the world against the coronavirus at the meeting, the final major event in Britain’s year as G-7 president.

The meeting of top diplomats from U.K., the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan also comes as negotiators meet in Vienna to try to revive an ailing international deal on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Moscow denies planning to attack Ukraine and accuses Kyiv of its own allegedly aggressive designs.

Truss said she wanted to work with other countries “to make sure that free democratic nations are able to have an alternative to Russian gas supplies,” a reference to the contentious Nord Stream 2 pipeline carrying gas from Russia to Germany.

The Liverpool meeting will be the first international gathering for Germany’s new foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, a politician from the environmentalist Greens who has previously opposed Nord Stream 2.

Britain is not very dependent on Russian gas, but London’s financial district and property market are major hubs for Russian money. U.K. authorities have long been accused of turning a blind eye to ill-gotten funds from around the world.

Truss insisted Britain is willing to consider new economic measures to protect its “core values.”

“There have been decisions made by the free world … in the short term to obtain cheap energy or cheap financing, and that has a long-term cost for freedom and democracy,” she said. “And we can’t make that mistake again.”

The diplomats will also discuss China’s muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific and lagging efforts to vaccinate the world against the coronavirus at the meeting, the final major event in Britain’s year as G-7 president.

The meeting of top diplomats from U.K., the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan also comes as negotiators meet in Vienna to try to revive an ailing international deal on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The post UK warns over reliance on Russian gas as G7 ministers meet appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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