Dual missions – to maintain support for Ukraine while easing economic pressures at home – have defined this year’s summit of leading democracies, held high in the Bavarian Alps. Although largely united, all leaders face their own political imperatives to see a change in momentum in the fighting and quickly end the conflict.
To that end, leaders have approached an agreement to try to limit the price of Russian oil, denying the country revenues that jumped amid a global jump in energy prices. Details were still being smoothed out, including whether Russia’s largest oil buyers would agree to the restrictions, but U.S. officials sounded confident of the plan’s prospects.
As the war in Ukraine revolves, the question of how to end the conflict has overwhelmed local talks. Zelensky’s time frame, delivered via videoconference during the morning session at Schloss Elmau Castle, was a clear sign as he gave of where he sees the trajectory of the war.
President Joe Biden’s chief adviser said Zelensky was focused on regaining momentum in Ukraine in the coming months – not years – when he spoke with leaders.
“Zelensky has been very focused on trying to ensure that Ukraine is in a better position on the battlefield in the coming months than in the following years, because he believes that a fierce conflict is not in the interests of the Ukrainian people,” said US National Security Adviser Jake. Sullivan after the meeting.
In a joint statement after meeting with Zelensky, leaders vowed to continue to support Ukraine “for as long as necessary”.
The United States is expected to announce as soon as it buys a new advanced medium- and long-range missile defense system requested by Ukraine this week, along with new shipments of ammunition and radar systems, as it works to turn the tide of war away from Russia. gains in the east.
Ukraine has asked the system to help sustain the fight against Russia. In a brief glimpse into the leaders ’meeting with Zelensky, the Ukrainian president could be seen on a screen set up in the conference room as the leaders took their seats.
G7 leaders also plan to announce a long line of new sanctions, including Russian defense supply chains, Russians responsible for human rights violations and war crimes, private military companies and new visa restrictions for 500 officials. The U.S. will also announce $ 7.5 billion in new funding for Ukraine, as part of a broader commitment by the G7 countries to help the country make up for its budget shortfalls.
Other important topics are on the agenda, including a new effort to counter Chinese infrastructure investment in the developing world that has expanded Beijing’s influence around the world.
But how long the Western Front can remain united against Russia is a question that hangs over these talks. Rising energy prices, fears of global food shortages and a certain inevitability that war fatigue will impose have given urgency to discussions about where the conflict will continue.
Meeting on Sunday with his host, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Biden wanted to stress the importance of keeping together.
“From the beginning, Putin was counting on NATO and the G7 to somehow split,” he said. – But we didn’t and we won’t.
Zelensky, who also plans to address this week’s NATO summit in Madrid, has been pushing the West to impose accelerated sanctions on Moscow and heavy artillery to retaliate against Russian invaders.
His pleas will become more urgent after Sunday’s rocket hits at two apartment buildings in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, which has enjoyed relatively calm in recent weeks as fighting has moved east. Biden condemned the attack as “barbarism”.
However, how much further leaders will be willing to invest in the application of new sanctions on Russia remains to be seen. High oil prices mean Russia is generating more revenue from its energy exports, despite bans in Europe and the United States.
Western leaders gathered at the G7 have decided to try to limit the price of Russian oil, officials say, as a final step towards punishing Moscow as they try to mitigate the economic effects of the war in Ukraine. How, when and how much the price of Russian oil will be limited remains to be seen. Officials said a precise mechanism for achieving the limits is still being worked out.
How, when and how much the price of Russian oil will be limited remains to be seen. Officials said a precise mechanism for achieving the limits is still being worked out.
But leaders will instruct their teams to work urgently to find ways to limit the price at which Russia can sell its oil, depriving Moscow of a key source of revenue.
“The goal here is to starve Russia, starve Putin of his main source of money, and lower the price of Russian oil to mitigate the impact of Putin’s war on the pump,” a senior U.S. administration official said.
As oil prices rose sharply, Russian oil revenues actually rose, despite global import bans. Leaders want to use their common leverage to reduce the revenue Russia receives from countries that still buy its oil.
How exactly this is done remains to be seen, although the official suggested that the G7 countries have leverage through oil transportation networks that could help enforce the restrictions.
High gas prices for American and European consumers are putting pressure on leaders to find ways to alleviate the pain.
“I would just tell people in the United States that this is something that America has historically done and must do, and that is to stand for peace, freedom, and democracy,” Johnson said. “And if we allow Putin to get out and just annex, conquer substantial parts of a free, independent, sovereign country, which he is willing to do … then the consequences for the world are absolutely catastrophic.”
Johnson, the last leader to arrive at the roundtable, asked if he should wear a jacket.
“Jackets on?” he asked, before joking about how sharp the leaders must have looked during their conversations.
“We have to show that we are stronger than Putin,” he said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a proposal: “Riding bare-breasted,” he said, while leaders laughed.
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