World leaders seek united front for Ukraine as war rages on

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Berlin (AFP) – World leaders, including US President Joe Biden, will seek to close ranks at back-to-back summits from Sunday by offering strong support to help Ukraine repel Russian invaders as relentless war puts international unity at risk. the test.

In the face-to-face talks, the allies will take stock of the effectiveness of the sanctions imposed so far against Vladimir Putin’s Russia, consider possible new military and financial aid to Ukraine and begin to look to longer-term reconstruction plans.

But they will also struggle to maintain a united front as the fallout from the war – from soaring inflation to looming food shortages to fears over energy supplies – tugs at their resolve.

Ahead of the G7 summit of the most industrialized nations to be held from Sunday in the Bavarian mountain resort of Elmau Castle, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has warned that the allies will need stamina to strengthen Ukraine.

“The truth is that we are still a long way from negotiations between Ukraine and Russia” because Putin “still believes in the possibility of a dictated peace,” Scholz said on Wednesday.

“It is therefore all the more important that we firmly stay the course – with our sanctions, with internationally coordinated arms deliveries, with our financial support for Ukraine.”

Scholz will arrive in Elmau after an EU summit in Brussels, where the 27-member bloc agreed on Thursday to grant “candidate status” to Ukraine.

Following the close of the G7 summit on Tuesday, leaders will travel to a gathering of NATO powers in Madrid.

There, cracks are already apparent over the membership bids of Sweden and Finland, after Turkey blindly took on the 30-member defense alliance by opposing the bids.

“Raise the Pressure”

Western allies have provided Ukraine with billions in financial aid and armaments, with the United States leading the charge with $5.6 billion worth of weapons alone.

But as the war enters its fifth month, Ukraine has repeatedly warned it needs far more support to withstand the Russian onslaught.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will attend the G7 and NATO summits in separate sessions via video link, but he has made his agenda clear with his repeated calls for more pressure on Russia and more weapons for its troops.

Washington said G7 leaders plan to “deploy a concrete set of proposals to increase pressure on Russia.”

Yet the unprecedented coordinated action by allies to shut down the Russian economy has so far not worked.

Instead, he exposed the Achilles’ heel of energy dependence that continues to undermine the ability of major players like Germany or Italy to pull out all the stops to punish Moscow.

As the impact of Western sanctions began to trigger more violent aftershocks in the global economy, a backlash was also looming in other parts of the world.

Three guests at the G7 summit – India, Senegal and South Africa – have all been reluctant to condemn Russia for its invasion and all three are likely to be hit hard by impending food shortages.

A fourth guest, Indonesia, while voting for Russia to withdraw from Ukraine in a UN vote in March, refused to exclude Putin from the G20 summit he is hosting in November. Instead, he also invited Zelensky to attend.

Thorsten Brenner, director of the Global Public Policy Institute, noted that “a crucial task is to convince many non-Western countries that are skeptical of sanctions that the West is aware of their concern about the rising prices of energy when designing sanctions”.

“The G7 must also make it clear that…the West takes responsibility for advancing food security in the most vulnerable countries.”

“Not a disaster”

Meanwhile, in Madrid, where a wider range of countries count as members, military support for Ukraine will be on NATO’s agenda.

Here too, the leaders will be keen to demonstrate their ironclad determination to protect the Member States against Russia.

But Turkey’s opposition to Finland’s and Sweden’s membership applications seems likely to tarnish the demonstration of unity.

NATO’s other 29 leaders will seek to push Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan towards a compromise, but Germany has sought to manage expectations, saying “it wouldn’t be a disaster if we needed a few weeks of more” to reach an agreement.

The delay was an unwelcome distraction and overshadows the alliance’s plans to unveil plans to bolster its forces on its eastern flank to confront Russia in the longer term.

NATO sent tens of thousands of troops to Eastern Europe following the invasion and members on Russia’s borders were calling for major deployments to be stationed permanently as a new defensive wall.

But beyond Russia, the alliance will also update its “strategic concept” for the first time in a decade.

Above all, he should not only harden his position towards Russia, but also mention the challenges posed by China for the first time.

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