Dressed in his usual khaki T-shirt, Volodymyr Zelensky began his speech by videoconference, shortly after 08:00 GMT, during this meeting of the seven industrial powers which began on Sunday in the bucolic setting of Elmau castle, at the foot of the Bavarian Alps.
The Ukrainian leader, who will also take part in the NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday, wants to put pressure on the seven leaders for increased support from them, the day after Russian strikes on kyiv, denounced as acts of “barbarism by US President Joe Biden.
Always at the forefront of support for Ukraine, the United States kicked off this second day of the summit by announcing that the G7 would commit to further toughen sanctions against the Russian economy, particularly targeting the defense industry. .
They also intend to develop a “mechanism to globally cap the price of Russian oil”, according to a senior White House official.
The G7 will also “coordinate to use customs duties on Russian products to help Ukraine,” the same source continued.
In Ukraine, for the first time in weeks, the capital was struck Sunday morning by Russian missiles while fierce fighting continued in the east of the country, in this deadly conflict entered its fifth month.
“A man was killed, he was only 37 years old. There are injured, including a girl called Genya, she is seven years old and she is the daughter of the deceased (…) Her mother was also injured. She is a Russian citizen. Nothing threatened her in our state, she was safe until Russia decided that everything is hostile to her” in Ukraine, President Zelensky said in a video message Sunday evening.
“The leaders of the G7 (…) have sufficient joint potential to stop Russian aggression”, provided they provide kyiv with “weapons” within the necessary timeframe.
– Embargo on Russian gold –
For the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, host of the Elmau summit, these bombings came as a reminder once again “that it was right to be united and to support Ukraine”.
Vladimir Putin hoped that, “one way or another, NATO and the G7 will divide. But we have not done it and we will not do it”, also assured Mr. Biden.
On the first day of their exchanges on Sunday, in this castle set on the emerald green mountain pastures, the seven industrialized countries (Germany, France, United States, Canada, Japan, Italy, Great Britain) announced an embargo on gold newly mined in Russia.
This measure will hit “directly the Russian oligarchs and will attack the heart of Putin’s war machine”, hammered British Prime Minister Boris Johnson while the West has already adopted several rounds of sanctions against Russia.
– Threat of food crisis –
Whether during their exchanges or during casual group photo sessions, Westerners took care to display their unity during this summit largely devoted to the war in Ukraine and its repercussions.
Among the most urgent, the food crisis that threatens part of the planet while thousands of tons of cereals lie dormant in Ukrainian silos due to the blockade or occupation of the Black Sea ports by the Russians.
Boris Johnson is due to call for “urgent action” on Monday to revive Ukraine’s vital grain exports as poorer countries teeter on the brink, Downing Street said.
This serious threat that hangs over many emerging countries will also be at the heart of the discussions that the Heads of State and Government will lead on Monday with the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, but also with the leaders of the five countries invited this year. in Bavaria (India, Argentina, Senegal, Indonesia and South Africa).
India, Senegal and South Africa abstained in voting on a UN resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Indonesian Head of State and G20 President Joko Widodo is also due to travel to Ukraine and Russia soon to discuss the economic and humanitarian consequences of the Russian invasion.
Emerging economies are particularly exposed to the risk of food shortages and the climate crisis, another emergency that the seven leaders must discuss with their guests.
In a context of shortage of Russian gas, environmental NGOs fear that the G7 will back down on its commitments to end international financing of fossil fuels.