President Joe Biden and Western allies opened a three-day summit in the Bavarian Alps on Sunday to prevent the economic fallout from the war in Ukraine from breaking the global coalition seeking to punish Russian aggression. Britain’s Boris Johnson warned leaders not to give in to “fatigue” even as Russia fired new missiles at Kiev.
The leaders of the Group of Seven would announce new import bans on Russian gold, the latest in a series of sanctions the club of democracies hopes will further isolate Russia economically. They also looked at potential energy price caps designed to limit the Russian oil and gas profits Moscow can pump into its war effort.
And following a proposal from last year’s G-7 summit, Biden formally launched a global infrastructure partnership designed to counter China’s influence in the developing world. The initiative aims to raise $600 billion in partnership with other G-7 countries for global infrastructure projects by 2027. About $200 billion would come from the United States, Biden said.
US officials have long argued that China’s infrastructure initiative traps recipient countries and that the investments benefit China more than their hosts.
According to Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko, Russia launched its first missile strikes on the Ukrainian capital in a three-week pre-surgery show, hitting at least two residential buildings.
Biden denounced Russia’s actions as “more of their barbarity,” stressing that allies must remain steadfast, even as the economic repercussions of the war worldwide take its toll in inflation, food shortages and more.
“We have to stick together because Putin had expected from the start that NATO and the G-7 would shatter somehow, but we haven’t and we won’t,” Biden said. meeting with the German government. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who holds the rotating G-7 presidency and hosts the meeting.
When the G-7 leaders sat down for their opening session, they took a light-hearted jab at Putin. Johnson was heard asking if he should keep his coat on, adding: “We all need to show that we are stronger than Putin.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed: “A bare-chested horseback ride.”
Over the years, the Kremlin has released several photos of the Russian leader appearing shirtless.
Biden and his colleagues used the meeting to discuss ways to secure energy supplies and deal with inflation caused by the effects of the war.
The leaders also came together on the new global infrastructure partnership intended to provide an alternative to Russian and Chinese investment in developing countries. One by one, the leaders stepped up to the microphone to discuss the partnership and their role in it — without naming China.
Ukraine cast a shadow over the meeting, but leaders were determined to show determination.
Scholz told Biden that the allies all managed to “stay united, which Putin clearly never expected”.
Biden said of Putin’s war, “We can’t let this aggression take the form it has and get away with it.”
Scholz, who has faced criticism at home and abroad for alleged reluctance to send Ukraine heavy weapons, said: “Germany and the US will always work together when it comes to questions about Ukraine’s security.”
Johnson, for his part, urged fellow leaders not to give in to “fatigue”. He has expressed concern at the development of divisions in the pro-Ukraine alliance as the four-month-old war continues.
When asked whether he thought France and Germany were doing enough, Johnson praised the “huge steps” Germany has taken to arm Ukraine and reduce Russian gas imports. He did not mention France.
Biden and Scholz agreed at their meeting ahead of the summit on the need for a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine, but did not go into details on how to achieve it, said a senior official in the Biden government who requested anonymity to reveal details of a private conversation.
However, they did not have an extensive discussion about oil price ceilings or inflation, the official said.
Other leaders echoed Biden’s praise for the coalition’s unity.
The head of the European Union’s governing council said the 27-member bloc maintains “unshakable unity” in backing Ukraine against the Russian invasion with money and political support, but that “Ukraine needs more and we are determined to do more.” offer.”
European Council President Charles Michel said EU governments were ready to provide “more military support, more financial resources and more political support” to enable Ukraine to defend itself and to “develop Russia’s ability to fight war.” to curb feeding”.
The EU has imposed sanctions on Russia six times, the latest being a ban on 90% of Russia’s crude oil imports by the end of the year. The measure targets a pillar of the Kremlin’s finances, its oil and gas revenues.
Biden and the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, plus the EU, spent Sunday in both formal and informal settings discussing the effects of the war on the global economy, including inflation.
Biden said the G-7 countries, including the United States, will ban gold imports from Russia. A formal announcement was expected Tuesday as the leaders close their annual summit.
Johnson said the ban will “hit Russian oligarchs directly and hit the heart of Putin’s war machine.”
Putin is wasting his dwindling resources on this senseless and barbaric war. He finances his ego at the expense of both the Ukrainian and Russian people,” Johnson said. “We must starve the Putin regime of its funding.”
Gold has been Russia’s most important export after energy in recent years — reaching nearly $19 billion or about 5% of global gold exports by 2020, according to the White House.
90% of Russian gold exports went to the G-7 countries. More than 90% of those exports, or nearly $17 billion, were exported to the UK. The United States imported less than $200 million worth of gold from Russia in 2019 and less than $1 million in 2020 and 2021.
Regarding the idea of energy price caps, Michel said: “we want to go into the details, we want to fine-tune … to make sure we have a clear common understanding of what the direct effects are and what the side effects are” if a such a step would be taken by the group.
Superville reported from Telfs, Austria and Moulson from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Associated Press writer Jill Lawless in London contributed to this report.