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G7 leaders meet with Zelenskyy, prepare new aid for Ukraine

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ELMAU: Leading economic powers granted via video link to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday, as they underlined their long-term commitment to Ukraine with plans to pursue a price cap for Russian oil, raise tariffs on Russian goods and impose other new sanctions. In addition, the US was preparing to announce the purchase of an advanced surface-to-air missile system for Kiev to help Ukraine fight back against Vladimir Putin’s aggression. The US was also preparing to announce the purchase of an advanced surface-to-air missile system for Kiev.
The new aid and efforts to punish Moscow from the Group of 7 leaders comes as a Zelenskyy is openly concerned that the West has grown weary at the cost of a war that is contributing to rising energy costs and price hikes for essential goods around the globe.
Leaders were in the final stages of seeking a price cap during their three-day G7 summit in the German Alps. The details of how a price cap would work, as well as its impact on the Russian economy, would be resolved by G7 finance ministers in the coming weeks and months, a senior government official said on condition of anonymity to view a preview. . the announcements from the summit.
The largest democratic economies will also commit to raising tariffs on Russian imports to their countries, with the US announcing new tariffs on 570 categories of goods, as well as using sanctions to attack Russian defense supply chains that are trying to control its efforts. to support rearmament during the war.
Biden is expected to announce that the US is purchasing NASAMS, an anti-aircraft defense system developed in Norway, to provide medium to long-range defense, according to the person familiar with the case, who spoke on condition of anonymity. NASAMS is the same system used by the US to protect the sensitive airspace around the White House and the US Capitol in Washington.
Additional aid includes more ammunition for Ukrainian artillery, as well as counter-battery radars, to support its efforts against the Russian attack in the Donbas, the person said. Biden also announces a $7.5 billion pledge to help the Ukrainian government cover its expenses, as part of a withdrawal of the $40 billion military and economic aid package he signed into law last month.
G7 leaders began their three-day summit session on Monday with a focus on Ukraine. Later, they will be joined by the leaders of five democratic emerging economies – India, Indonesia, South Africa, Senegal and Argentina – for a discussion on climate change, energy and other issues.
The war in Ukraine was already on the forefront of the minds of G7 leaders when they opened their summit on Sunday at the remote luxury hotel Schloss Elmau — just as Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian capital Kiev for the first time in weeks.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the host of the summit, said the G7 countries’ policy towards Ukraine is “very much in line” and that they see the need to be both strict and cautious.
Scholz said after meeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday that “we are making difficult decisions, that we are also careful, that we will help Ukraine as much as possible, but that we will also avoid a major conflict between Russia and Russia.” and NATO”.
He added that “this is essential – being tough and thinking about the needs of the times we live in”.
Biden said on Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin “counted from the outset that NATO and the G7 would shatter somehow, but we have not and will not do that”.
Biden hopes to use his trip to Europe to proclaim the unity of the coalition that is pushing to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, just as he is urging his allies to do even more — in an effort to dispel doubts about its stamina. as the war enters its fifth. month.
The summit’s host, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said last week that he wants to discuss the outlines of a “Marshall Plan for Ukraine” with his G7 counterparts, citing the US-sponsored plan that helped boost European economies. to revive it after World War II.
With the war still going on and the destruction increasing by the day, it is unlikely at this stage that there will be a detailed plan. Scholz has said that “reconstructing Ukraine will be a task for generations.”
The G7 is already determined to help finance Ukraine’s immediate needs. The group’s finance ministers agreed last month to provide $19.8 billion in economic aid to help Kiev keep basic services functioning and prevent tight finances from hampering its defenses against Russian forces.
A senior US government official, speaking anonymously to discuss private conversations between G7 leaders, said the US and Europe are aligned in their goals for a negotiated end to the conflict, even though their roles sometimes seem different.
Scholz and the French President Emmanuel Macron have tried to facilitate that through active talks with Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Zelenskyy, while also supplying arms to Ukraine. The US has largely cut off important talks with Russia and wants to strengthen Ukraine’s battlefield capacity as much as possible so that its ultimate position at the negotiating table is stronger.
Enduring tough sanctions against Russia could ultimately boil down to whether the G7 and other leaders can find ways to alleviate energy supply problems and skyrocketing prices once winter hits, while trying to break free from Russian fuel sources.
The G7 meeting is sandwiched between a European Union summit last week where it was agreed to grant Ukraine candidate membership status – kicking off a process likely to take years with no guarantee of success – and a summit of NATO leaders in Madrid on Tuesday.
The leaders of the G7 – the US, Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Canada and Japan – may hope to make some progress by bringing their counterparts from their five host countries closer to Western views on sanctions against Russia.
Scholz also wants to win over such countries with his idea of ​​a ‘climate club’ for countries that want to tackle the problem quickly.

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