Zelensky expects ‘important decisions’ regarding Ukraine at the G7 summit

image source, Good pictures

image caption, Ukrainian forces say they urgently need more advanced Western weapons to fight invading Russian troops.

  • author, Alex Smith
  • stock, BBC News
  • Report from London

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expects “important decisions” at the G7 summit of leaders of the world’s seven richest nations to help his country fight invading Russian forces.

“A large part will be devoted to Ukraine, our security and economic resilience,” he said in a post on Telegram.

The White House says the G7 has made good progress on a US plan to use frozen Russian assets to raise $50bn (£39bn) a year for Ukraine.

Mr Zelensky, who attended the summit in Puglia, southern Italy, signed a defense pact with Japan on Thursday. A similar deal is expected with the US.

image source, EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

image caption, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, host of the G7 summit in Puglia, warmly welcomes Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (left).

The G7 nations of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US have been key financial and military backers of Ukraine since a full-scale invasion by Russia in 2022.

$325bn in Russian assets were frozen by the group, along with the EU, when Moscow invaded Ukraine. Most of the assets of the Central Bank of Russia are in Belgium.

According to international law, countries cannot confiscate those assets from Russia and give them to Ukraine.

The plan is to borrow on international markets, give Ukrainians about $50 billion each year, and use $3bn each year to pay interest on that debt.

But there is still a lot of technology to sort out.

President Biden’s security adviser, Jake Sullivan, says the plan’s “major tentacles” have been decided and are likely to pay off.

In recent weeks, Russian officials have spoken of the idea of ​​taking interest from seized assets as “theft,” threatening retaliation.

image caption, Discussions have begun at the G7 meeting in Puglia, southern Italy

With Mr Biden in the middle of a close election race and many Western leaders trailing in the polls, the pressure is on to give Ukraine as much support as they can.

Facing an uphill battle ahead of next month’s general election, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is set to announce up to $309 million in support for Ukraine’s energy and humanitarian needs.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s party also soon faces voters, who called for a snap parliamentary election after a landslide defeat for the far-right National Rally in last weekend’s elections to the European Union’s parliament.

Italy’s Giorgia Meloni boasted that her country was heading to the summit with “the strongest government of all” after a strong performance in last weekend’s European elections.

The shaky political climate in many G7 countries leaves some observers with low expectations of what can be achieved.

Also on the agenda for the Summit at Savelletri Resort are:

  • War in Gaza: All G7 leaders have previously supported US President Joe Biden Plan to end hostilities – including an immediate ceasefire, release of hostages and increased aid
  • Migration: Italy is asking other countries to contribute financially to the Mattei programme, which provides grants and loans to African countries to develop their economies. But many commentators suspect it may be a cover for Italy’s crackdown on immigration
  • Economic Security: The anti-coercion treaty, adopted after last year’s meeting, is designed to prevent countries – such as China and Russia – from using their economic might to impose their will on others. The United States is believed to be keen that the issue be discussed again this time
  • Safety of AI: This was boosted last year by setting out a process to develop “safe, secure and reliable AI”.

Pope Francis – the first pontiff to attend the G7 summit – will address the conference on the topic of artificial intelligence.

He has previously called for global regulation of AI, warning of its risk to ethics and human rights.

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