G7 pledges more Russia sanctions after virtual talks on Ukraine - GulfToday

G7 pledges more Russia sanctions after virtual talks on Ukraine


Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (left), Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen attend a video conference with G7 leaders in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday. Reuters

The G7 countries pledged support for Ukraine and new sanctions on Russia after a virtual meeting on Saturday on the second anniversary of Moscow's invasion.

In a statement after the meeting, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also attended, the leaders vowed to "raise the cost" of Russia's war on Ukraine.

The G7 leaders didn't make any public statement about further military aid to Ukraine, but urged "the approval of additional support to close Ukraine's remaining budget gap for 2024".

"We will continue to raise the cost of Russia's war, degrade Russia's sources of revenue and impede its efforts to build its war machine," said the group, which includes the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada.

They called on Iran to stop helping Russia's military and expressed concern about the transfer by Chinese businesses of weapon components, military equipment and dual-use materials to Moscow.

Finally, the G7 leaders demanded that Russia "fully clarify the circumstances" around the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Navalny, the most prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, died in an Arctic prison last week.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

After a week-long stand-off, his body was finally handed over to his mother on Saturday, according to his team.

Zelensky used the meeting to plead for more support for his embattled military forces.

"You know very well all we need to keep our sky protected, to strengthen our military on the land, and you know all we need to sustain and continue our success in the sea," he said.

"And you know perfectly well that we need all this in time, and we count on you."

The meeting was hosted from Kyiv by Giorgia Meloni, the prime minister of Italy, which holds the rotating G7 presidency.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and EU chief Ursula von der Leyen were also in Kyiv Saturday for the anniversary and attended the session in person.

It was the first meeting of the G7 under the Italian presidency.

Meloni flew to Poland, which borders Ukraine, and then took the train to Kyiv.

She explained her reasons for going to Kyiv in an interview with Italy's Il Giornale newspaper published Saturday.

"Italy, Europe and the West must continue to back Kyiv because defending Ukraine means... keeping war at bay, protecting our national interests and preventing the international order based on rules from breaking down," she said.

"We believe in Ukraine's European future," she said, referring to Kyiv's frantic efforts to join the European Union.

Agence France-Presse

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