G-7 leaders engage with Ukraine, US sends anti-aircraft system

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ELMAU, Germany (AP) — Economic powers in the Group of Seven are ready to commit to long-term support for Ukraine, as the United States prepares to announce the purchase of an advanced surface-to-air missile system for Kyiv, as leaders meet in the German Alps and hold video-link talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The G-7 leaders will begin Monday’s session of their three-day summit with a focus on Ukraine. Later, they will be joined by leaders from five democratic emerging economies – India, Indonesia, South Africa, Senegal and Argentina – for a discussion on climate change, energy and other questions.

The war in Ukraine was already at the forefront of G-7 leaders’ minds when they opened their summit at the secluded luxury Schloss Elmau hotel on Sunday – just as Russian missiles hit Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv for the first time. times for weeks.

President Joe Biden said Russian President Vladimir Putin “expected from the start that NATO and the G-7 would part ways one way or another, but we didn’t and we didn’t. we’re not going to do it.” Britain’s Boris Johnson has warned leaders not to give in to “fatigue”.

On Monday, they have the opportunity to demonstrate this unity to Zelenskyy and reaffirm their commitment to supporting Kyiv financially and otherwise.

Biden is set to announce that the United States is providing an advanced surface-to-air missile system to Ukraine, along with additional artillery support, according to a person familiar with the matter, as part of the latest assistance to help the country defend itself against Russia. bloody invasion.

The United States is buying NASAMS, an anti-aircraft system developed by Norway, to provide medium and long range defense, according to the person 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 hopes to use his trip to Europe to proclaim the unity of the coalition that is pressing to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine as much as he is urging his allies to do even more – seeking to counter doubts about his staying power so that the war is in its fifth month.

The summit’s host, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said last week he wanted to discuss the outlines of a “Marshall Plan for Ukraine” with his G-7 counterparts, referring to the plan sponsored by the United States that helped revive European economies after World War II. .

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 Russian President Vladimir 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 endurance of tough sanctions against Russia could ultimately come down to whether the G-7 and other leaders can identify ways to alleviate energy supply problems and soaring prices once the winter has arrived, as they 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.

The G-7 leaders – the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada and Japan – can hope to make progress by bringing their counterparts from their five guest countries closer to the views western countries on the sanctions against Russia.

Scholz is also eager to win over these countries for his idea of ​​a “climate club” for nations that want to move forward when it comes to tackling the problem.

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Moulson reported from Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the G-7 summit: https://apnews.com/hub/g-7-summit

Follow AP’s coverage of the Russian-Ukrainian War at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine


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