G-7 Summit Gets Underway in Hiroshima With Fresh Sanctions on Russia

Ukrainian president is anticipated to make a personal trip to Hiroshima 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 planning to introduce new sanctions “to continue tightening the screws on Russia” as they begin their three-day meeting in Hiroshima.

The G7 leaders are expected to issue a strong declaration of “unity, strength, and commitment” in reaction to Russia’s aggression, according to a senior White House official.

“Our commitment to continue tightening the screws on Russia remains as strong as it was last year. And so, I think tomorrow you will see new steps taken to economically isolate Russia and to weaken its ability to wage war,” the official told reporters on May 18 ahead of the summit.

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 annual summit of the world’s most advanced democracies—the United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Canada—is taking place on May 19–21.

During the summit, leaders will reveal plans 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 G7 will declare new sanctions and export restrictions to increase economic pressure on Russia.

The United States will continue to tighten export controls on Russia, making it more difficult to maintain its war machine, 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 Feb. 2022, the G7 nations agreed to gradually reduce their dependency on Russian energy.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
European Council President Charles Michel, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, U.S. President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pose for a group photo after laying flower wreaths at the Cenotaph for Atomic Bomb Victims in the Peace Memorial Park on the sidelines of the G7 summit on May 18, 2023 in Hiroshima, Japan. (Franck Robichon/Getty Images)

At the G7 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.

“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 U.S. Treasury Department said in a progress report released on May 18.

“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,” according to the report.

Zelenskyy Expected at Summit

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to join the summit discussions in person on Sunday, Bloomberg reported, citing anonymous sources.

Zelenskyy has always participated in previous G7 leaders’ engagements on Ukraine, the senior official said but did not 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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