War in Ukraine: All eyes on G7 as Zelenskyy calls for more effort from West

The Ukrainian president is expected on Monday to call for more weapons for his war-torn country and a further tightening of Western sanctions against Moscow to the G7 leaders united against Russia at their annual summit in Germany.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy will speak via video conference mid-morning at the meeting of the seven industrial powers that began Sunday in the rural setting of Elmau Castle at the foot of the Bavarian Alps.

The Ukrainian leader, who will also attend the NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday, wants to pressure the seven leaders to get more support from them the day after the Russian attacks on Kiev, which US President Joe Biden called “barbaric”. were labeled. †

Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian capital for the first time in weeks on Sunday morning, as fierce fighting continued in the east of the country as the deadly conflict now enters its fifth month.

“A man was killed, he was only 37 years old. There are injuries, including a girl named Genya, she is seven years old and she is the daughter of the deceased (…) Her mother was also injured. She is a Russian citizen. Nothing threatened her in our state, she was safe until Russia decided that everything in Ukraine is hostile to her,” Zelenskyy said in a video message on Sunday evening.

The leaders of the G7 (…) collectively have enough potential to stop the Russian aggression,” he said. “But this will only be possible if we get everything we ask for and within the necessary time frame: weapons and financial support and sanctions against Russia.”

Later on Sunday, a local official reported a second death in Kiev and told the Unian news agency that a railway worker was killed and several others injured in the attacks while carrying out maintenance on the railway infrastructure.

Zelenskyy said some of the estimated 14 Russian missiles launched at the capital had been intercepted, and said everyone involved would be held accountable.

Russia also struck other parts of Ukraine this weekend, in what Ukrainian and Western officials have interpreted as an insurgent message to the G7 and NATO. In the eastern region of Donbas, there were intense air strikes on Lysychansk after a Ukrainian military leader said neighboring Sievierodonetsk was “fully occupied” by Russian forces on Saturday.

Embargo on Russian gold

On the first day of their talks at the castle on Sunday, the seven industrialized countries (Germany, France, the United States, Canada, Japan, Italy and the United Kingdom) announced that they are extending sanctions against Moscow by issuing an embargo on new gold mined in Russia.

This move will “hit Russian oligarchs directly and attack the heart of Putin’s war machine,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, as the West has already approved several sanctions against Russia.

For German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, host of the Elmau summit, the bombing was another reminder that “it was good to be united and support Ukraine”.

Scholz said last week that he wanted to discuss the outlines of a “Marshall Plan” for Ukraine, citing the US-sponsored plan that helped revitalize European economies after World War II. He added that “the reconstruction of Ukraine will be a task for generations”.

There have been more calls among G7 leaders for unity against Russia. Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin “counted from the start that NATO and the G7 would shatter somehow, but we haven’t and we won’t.” Boris Johnson, meanwhile, warned leaders not to give in to “fatigue”.

Threat of global food crisis

The three-day G7 summit is largely devoted to the war in Ukraine and its aftermath.

One of the most urgent is the food crisis that threatens part of the planet as thousands of tons of grain lie dormant in Ukrainian silos due to the blockade or occupation of ports on the Black Sea by the Russians.

Boris Johnson on Monday called for “urgent action” to revive Ukraine’s essential grain exports at a time when poorer countries are on the brink of collapse, Downing Street said.

The serious threat to many emerging countries will also be at the center of Monday’s talks between the heads of state or government and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as well as the leaders of the five countries invited to Bavaria this year (India, Argentina , Senegal , Indonesia and South Africa).

India, Senegal and South Africa have abstained from voting on a UN resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Indonesian leader and G20 president Joko Widodo will soon also visit Ukraine and Russia to discuss the economic and humanitarian consequences of the Russian invasion.

Emerging economies are particularly exposed to the risk of food shortages and the climate crisis, another emergency the seven leaders are expected to address with their guests.

Against the backdrop of Russian gas shortages, environmental NGOs fear the G7 will backfire on its commitments to end international financing for fossil fuels.