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G-7 leaders meet with Zelenskyy and prepare new aid for Ukraine | Economic news


ELMAU, Germany (AP) — Major economic powers conferred via video link with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday as they underscored their commitment to Ukraine “as long as it takes” with plans to pursue a cap on Russian oil prices, raise tariffs on Russian goods and impose other new sanctions.

In addition, the United States was about to announce the purchase of an advanced surface-to-air missile system for Kyiv to help Ukraine fight Vladimir Putin’s aggression.

The new aid and efforts by the Group of Seven leaders to punish Moscow comes amid open concerns Zelenskyy the West is getting weary of the cost of a war that is contributing to soaring energy costs and rising prices of essential goods around the world.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Zelenskyy’s main request was for new air defense systems. Sullivan said most of the conversation was “about the way forward and how President Zelenskyy sees the course of the war.” Zelenskyy also briefed G-7 leaders on how his administration has received the assistance it has received to date “to maximize Ukraine’s ability to resist Russian advances and sustain counterattacks. where possible,” Sullivan said.

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Sullivan added that the Ukrainian leader was “very focused on trying to ensure that Ukraine is in as advantageous a position as possible on the battlefield” in the coming months because “he believes that a fierce conflict is not in the interests of the Ukrainian people”. ”

Zelenskyy also told the leaders that now was not the time to negotiate with Russia because he needed to be in a position of strength first, according to a senior French diplomat. The Ukrainian leader said “he will negotiate when he is able to do so”, said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity in accordance with the usual practices of the French presidency.

“His goal is to end the war as quickly as possible and come out of it in the best possible position, so that he can negotiate from a position of strength,” the diplomat said, adding that Zelenskyy had told the leaders of the summit that it needed economic, financial and military support.

After hearing from Zelenskyy, the leaders pledged in a statement to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes”. They stressed their “unwavering commitment to support the government and people of Ukraine” in the battle for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of their country.

They said it was up to Ukraine to decide on a future peace deal.

Leaders were finalizing the deal to seek a price cap at their three-day G-7 summit in the German Alps. The details of how a price cap would work, as well as its impact on the Russian economy, were to be worked out by G-7 finance ministers, according to a senior administration official who spoke under cover of anonymity to preview summit announcements. .

Zelenskyy did not raise the price cap issue, Sullivan said.

The largest democratic economies will also pledge to raise tariffs on Russian imports into their countries, with the United States announcing new tariffs on 570 categories of goods, as well as the use of sanctions to target supply chains. defense of Russia that supported its rearmament efforts during the war. .

Biden is expected to announce soon that the United States is buying NASAMS, an anti-aircraft system developed by Norway, to provide medium-to-long range defense, according to a person familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity. NASAMS is the same system used by the United States to protect sensitive airspace around the White House and the US Capitol in Washington.

The additional aid includes more ammunition for Ukrainian artillery, as well as counter-battery radars, to support its efforts against the Russian assault in Donbass, the person said. Biden is also announcing a $7.5 billion pledge to help the Ukrainian government meet its expenses, part of a withdrawal from the $40 billion military and economic aid package he signed into law. last month.

G-7 leaders opened Monday’s session with a focus on Ukraine. They were then 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 Questions.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the summit host, said the G-7 countries’ policies toward Ukraine are “completely aligned” and they see the need to be both hard and careful.

Scholz said after meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday that “we are making difficult decisions, we are also careful, we will help … Ukraine as much as possible but we also avoid that there is a great conflict”. between Russia and NATO.

The Chancellor added that “that is what is essential – to be tough and to think of the necessities of the times in which we live”.

Britain’s Boris Johnson said that under the circumstances, the G-7 must “continue to help Ukrainians rebuild their economy, get their grain out, export their grain and, of course, we have to help them protect themselves.” And that’s what we will continue to do. »

Biden hopes to use the trip to demonstrate coalition unity, pressing to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine as much as he urges his allies to do even more. It’s an important moment for the US president as he seeks to counter doubts about the West’s staying power as the war enters its fifth month.

Scholz said last week he wanted the G-7 to discuss the outlines of a “Marshall Plan for Ukraine”, referring to the US-sponsored plan that helped revive European economies after the Second World War.

With the war still going on and the destruction piling up day by day, it’s unlikely to be a detailed plan at this point. Scholz said that “the reconstruction of Ukraine will be a task for generations”.

The G-7 has already pledged to help fund Ukraine’s immediate needs. Group finance ministers agreed last month to provide $19.8 billion in economic aid to help Kyiv keep basic services functioning and prevent tight finances from hampering its defense against Russian forces .

A senior US administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations between G-7 leaders, said the US and Europe were aligned in their goals of an end negotiated part of the conflict, even if their roles sometimes seem different.

Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron tried to facilitate this through active conversations with Putin and Zelenskyy, while supplying arms to Ukraine. The United States has largely halted important talks with Russia and aims to build Ukraine’s battlefield capability as much as possible so that its eventual position at the negotiating table is stronger.

The durability of tough sanctions on Russia may ultimately hinge on the ability of the G-7 and other leaders to identify ways to ease energy supply problems and soaring prices once winter arrives, as seek to disengage from Russian sources of fuel.

The G-7 meeting is sandwiched between a European Union summit last week that agreed to give Ukraine candidate status – kicking off a process that will likely take years with no guarantee of success – and a summit of NATO leaders starting Tuesday in Madrid.

Moulson reported from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. Superville reported from Telfs, Austria. Associated Press writer Sylvie Corbet in Paris contributed to this report.

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