G-7 nations seek to step up pressure on Russia, aid for Ukraine

The Group of Seven (G-7) leaders are readying new penalties on Russia and additional assistance for Ukraine at a summit in Germany to underscore their support for Kyiv as it battles Russian forces for the fifth straight month.

The G-7 leaders plan to expand sanctions on Russia’s technology and defense sector, impose new tariffs on Russian goods and sanction those engaged in human rights abuses in Ukraine, according to a fact sheet distributed by the White House on Monday.

The G-7 nations will also commit to helping Ukraine cover its “short-term budgetary funding shortfalls,” the fact sheet said, and pledge to provide military, humanitarian, financial and diplomatic support for Ukraine for as long as needed.

For its part, the United States is expected to make a new $7.5 billion commitment in economic aid for Ukraine that is part of the $40 billion aid package approved by Congress last month.

The announcements came on the second day of the G-7 summit in Germany, where G-7 leaders met virtually with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The G-7 — which includes the U.S., Germany, Italy, France, Japan, the United Kingdom and Canada — is trying to demonstrate support for Ukraine as the bloody Russian war enters its fifth month with no end in sight.

While President Biden has succeeded in keeping allies united behind a forceful, coordinated response to Russia’s war, there have been questions about whether that unity can endure as the war drags on and continues to disrupt the global economy.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters later Monday that the new U.S. assistance package would include new air defense systems.

He said that during the virtual meeting with Biden and other G-7 leaders, Zelensky discussed Russian missile attacks on Kyiv over the weekend and told the leaders he wanted more air defense systems.

“As [Biden] told President Zelensky, we do intend to finalize a package that includes advanced medium and long-range air defense capabilities for the Ukrainians, along with some other items that are of urgent need, including ammunition for artillery and counter-battery radar systems,” Sullivan told reporters.

He said that the U.S. is trying to “tailor our military assistance to the particular, immediate needs of Ukrainians on the battlefield at a given point in time.”

In addition to the announcements Monday, Biden has also said that the G-7 economies will ban Russian gold imports, cutting off another source of revenue for the Russian economy.

The G-7 is also discussing a global price cap for Russian oil that would cut down on the profits of Russia’s energy industry. A senior administration official described the G-7 finance ministers as in the “final discussions” about the price cap and indicated the details would be finalized sometime after the summit concludes.

The Biden administration is expected to announce a handful of new penalties on Russia in the coming days in coordination with the other G-7 countries.

For instance, the State and Treasury Departments plan to impose blocking sanctions on state-owned defense businesses and defense research organizations, according to the White House fact sheet. The departments also plan to impose blocking sanctions on private military companies operating in Ukraine, Russian units implicated in human rights abuses, and officials installed in Ukraine by Russia.

Biden will also announce that the U.S. will impose higher tariffs on over 570 groups of Russian products worth about $2.3 billion, the fact sheet said.

And the G-7 will seek to use money collected by new tariffs on Russian imports to provide additional assistance for Ukraine.

Updated at 8:16 a.m.

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