G7 summit: The West decides on new sanctions against Russia

A first important decision was made at the G7 summit: there will be new sanctions against Russia. This will support Ukraine in the war for as long as necessary.

Even if Donald Trump is re-elected to the White House in November, Ukraine should be able to rely on financial and military aid from the West in the long term in its war against Russia. US President Joe Biden used the G7 summit in southern Italy to push for a multi-billion dollar aid package at Russia’s expense with the heads of state and government of other large democratic industrial nations. The group of seven thus demonstrated unity.

The new billions in aid are a reminder to Russian President Vladimir Putin “that we are not giving in,” Biden said in the evening at a press conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky. “He (Putin) cannot divide us. And we will stand by Ukraine’s side until it has won this war.” The USA alone wants to provide around 50 billion in loans. The other G7 countries still want to discuss their commitments.

The USA had imposed new sanctions on Russia before the meeting in Italy. The European Union now wants to quickly follow suit with further punitive measures. In the West, many suspect that Trump could fundamentally change the USA’s course towards Russia if the Republican can make up for his defeat to Biden in the election four years ago. He is currently ahead in the polls.

The Pope at the G7 meeting

Today, the summit will be expanded to include a dozen heads of state and government from other countries. At the invitation of host Giorgia Meloni, a pope is attending a G7 meeting for the first time in almost 50 years. Pope Francis, the head of more than 1.3 billion Catholics, is taking part in a round table discussion on artificial intelligence. He also has numerous bilateral meetings on his agenda.

The summit in a luxury hotel on the Adriatic Sea will last until Saturday. The heads of state and government have already agreed in principle on a final declaration, as host Meloni announced. The group consists of the USA, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, France, Italy and Germany. The heads of state and government from India, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are expected to attend, among others.

With the security agreement, the USA has assured Ukraine of further assistance – including in the event of future attacks. The agreement provides for military support, cooperation in the arms industry and the exchange of intelligence information. It is also intended to help Ukraine on its way to NATO. The USA is not providing any security guarantees, nor is it promising to deploy American forces to defend Ukraine. Kiev has already signed similar agreements with a good dozen countries, including Germany.

Clear message to Putin

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) viewed the new billions in aid as a clear signal to Putin. “The Russian president has a very obvious plan: he wants to push his war forward until everyone else gives up supporting Ukraine. And that plan failed today,” said Scholz.

Meloni said of the support for Ukraine: “This was an unexpected result that I am particularly proud of.” EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen spoke of a clear message: Putin would be shown that the main burden of the damage he caused would not be borne by European taxpayers, but by Russia itself.

Von der Leyen also expressed the expectation that the EU states would quickly agree on new sanctions against Russia. “We are in the final stages, so to speak,” she told the German Press Agency and other media. The new punitive measures are intended in particular to prevent the circumvention of existing sanctions.

Criticism of China’s relationship with Russia

On Wednesday, the United States announced new sanctions against supporters of the Russian war of aggression, which are also expected to affect Chinese companies. China is considered Russia’s most important ally and is backing Moscow in the war through its stance on the international stage.

Biden blamed China directly for Russia’s war. “By the way, China is not supplying weapons, but the ability to produce those weapons and the technology required to do so. So it is actually helping Russia.”

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China is not only troubling the G7 because of the strengthening of Russia: it is also about the difficult trade relations. In the summit declaration, the G7 accuses China of creating overcapacity and distorting competition with anti-competitive practices such as subsidies. This endangers the economic resilience of the G7 countries, including jobs. China is also indirectly threatened with further punitive tariffs.