Ukrainian president is anticipated to make a personal trip to Japan to attend summit on Sunday
HIROSHIMA, Japan—The war in Ukraine takes center stage at this year’s Group of Seven (G-7) Summit, with leaders introducing new sanctions “to continue tightening the screws on Russia” as they begin their three-day meeting in Hiroshima.
“We will further restrict Russia’s access to our economies,” the leaders said in a statement released on May 19.
They’ve agreed to broaden G-7 efforts to restrict exports of all items critical to Russia’s aggression, including industrial machinery, tools, and other technology that Russia uses to rebuild its war machine.
“We will starve Russia of G-7 technology, industrial equipment, and services that support its war machine. We will continue to shield agricultural, medical, and humanitarian products from our restrictive measures and make every effort to avoid potential spillover impacts on third countries,” the group said.
This would be the most comprehensive set of sanctions and export control measures ever imposed on a major economy, according to the White House.
The group also agreed to strengthen its coordination to prevent and respond to third parties supplying weapons to Russia, and pledged to take action against third-country actors that materially assist Russia’s war.
The annual summit of the world’s most advanced democracies—the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Canada—is taking place from May 19–21.
During the summit, the G-7 leaders will demonstrate “unity, strength, and commitment” in reaction to Russia’s aggression, a senior White House official told reporters on May 18 ahead of the summit.
“Our commitment to continue tightening the screws on Russia remains as strong as it was last year,” the official said.
The G-7 leaders plan to further disrupt Russia’s ability to source inputs for its war, shut evasion loopholes, limit reliance on Russian energy, and further restrict Moscow’s access to the international banking system. In addition, Russia’s sovereign assets will remain frozen until the war is over.
Each member of the G-7 will declare new sanctions and export restrictions to increase economic pressure on Russia.
The United States will continue to tighten export controls on Russia, the official said.
“Among other things, this involves extensively restricting categories of goods key to the battlefield and also cutting off roughly 70 entities from Russia and third countries from receiving U.S. exports by adding them to the Commerce blacklist. Moreover, we will announce upwards of 300 new sanctions against individuals, entities, vessels, and aircraft.”
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the G-7 nations agreed to gradually reduce their dependency on Russian energy.
At the G-7 Summit in Germany a year ago, the leaders agreed to adopt a strategy of capping the price of Russian oil to choke off the Kremlin’s revenue.
“This is working. Russia’s revenues are down. Global oil and gas prices have fallen significantly, benefiting countries around the world,” the leaders said in the G-7 statement.
The U.S. Treasury Department released a report on May 18 explaining the progress made on the price cap.
“Following the implementation of the price cap policy, Russia’s oil revenues have fallen substantially compared to both pre-war levels and the elevated level at the onset of the war,” the report stated.
“This decline in revenue has occurred despite Russia’s exporting roughly 5 to 10 percent more crude oil in April 2023 compared to March 2022.”
Zelenskyy Expected at Summit
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to join the summit discussions in person, according to a Ukrainian official.
“Very important things will be decided there,” Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told state television, according to Reuters.
He said Zelenskyy’s presence was “absolutely essential in order to defend our interests.”
Zelenskyy has always participated in previous G-7 leaders’ engagements on Ukraine, the White House official said, but declined to comment on the format or the time of the meeting.
On the first day of the summit, leaders attended a wreath-laying, family photo, and tree-planting ceremony at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum to honor those who died in the city 78 years ago in the atomic bombings. After that, the leaders took part in a working lunch.
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