Biden on alliance behind Ukraine – News-Herald

By ZEKE MILLER and DARLENE SUPERVILLE

ELMAU, Germany — President Joe Biden on Sunday praised the global alliance’s continued unity in the face of Russia, as he and other leaders of major Group of Seven economies mapped out a strategy to keep the pressure on in their efforts to isolate Moscow during its months-long invasion. Ukraine.

Biden and his counterparts were meeting to discuss how to secure energy supplies and tackle inflation, in a bid to prevent the fallout of war from shattering the global coalition working to punish Moscow. They were due to announce new bans on Russian gold imports, the latest in a series of sanctions the Club of Democracies hopes will further isolate Russia economically following its invasion of Ukraine.

The leaders were also meeting in a new global infrastructure partnership intended to provide an alternative to Russian and Chinese investment in the developing world.

“We have to make sure we all stick together,” Biden said during a pre-summit meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who serves as the rotating G-7 presidency and is organizing the rally. “You know, we’re going to keep working on the economic challenges we’re facing, but I think we’ll get through all of this.”

Scholz replied that the “good message” is that “we all managed to stick together, which Putin did not expect”, a reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who sent his army to the other side of the border with Ukraine at the end of February.

“We have to stick together, because Putin was counting from the beginning that NATO and the G-7 would somehow break up, but we haven’t and we’re not going to. do it,” Biden replied, as he and Scholz sat on a terrace that overlooked the scenic Bavarian Alps.

“We can’t let this aggression take the form it has and get away with it,” Biden added.

Biden and Scholz did not have an in-depth discussion about the oil price cap or inflation, a senior administration official said. The leaders, however, agreed on the need for a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine, but did not specify how to achieve it, said the official, who requested anonymity to reveal details of a private conversation.

Hours before the official opening of the summit, Russia launched missile strikes against the Ukrainian capital, hitting at least two residential buildings, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said. These were the first such strikes carried out by Russia in three weeks.

Biden condemned Russia’s actions as “more of their barbarism.”

Other leaders echoed Biden’s praise for coalition unity.

The head of the European Union’s Council of Governments said the 27-member bloc maintained “unshakable unity” in backing Ukraine against Russia’s invasion with money and political support, but that ” Ukraine needs more and we are committed to providing more”.

European Council President Charles Michel said EU governments were ready to provide “more military support, more financial means and more political support” to enable Ukraine to defend itself and “limit Russia’s ability to wage war”.

The EU has imposed six rounds of sanctions against Russia, the latest being a 90% ban on Russian crude oil imports by the end of the year. The measure targets a pillar of the Kremlin’s finances, its oil and gas revenues.

Biden and the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, as well as the EU, spent Sunday in formal and informal settings, including working sessions on the effects of war on the global economy, including inflation, and on infrastructure.

Biden, who arrived in Germany early on Sunday, said G-7 countries, including the United States, would ban gold imports from Russia. A formal announcement was expected on Tuesday as the leaders hold their annual summit.

Senior Biden administration officials have said gold is Moscow’s second-biggest export after energy, and banning such imports would make it harder for Russia to participate in global markets. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details ahead of the announcement.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the ban “will hit Russian oligarchs directly and strike at the heart of Putin’s war machine”.

“Putin is wasting his dwindling resources on this useless and barbaric war. He is funding his ego at the expense of the Ukrainian and Russian people,” Johnson said. “We must deprive the Putin regime of its funding.”

Gold in recent years has been Russia’s top export after energy – reaching nearly $19 billion, or around 5% of global gold exports, in 2020, according to the White House.

Of Russian gold exports, 90% went to G-7 countries. More than 90% of these exports, or almost $17 billion, were exported to the United Kingdom. The United States imported less than $200 million in gold from Russia in 2019 and less than $1 million in 2020 and 2021.

Among the issues to be discussed are the cap on energy prices, which aims to limit Russian oil and gas profits that Moscow can inject into its war effort. The idea was championed by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Michel said price caps on Russian oil imports were under discussion. But he said ‘we want to go into detail, we want to refine…to make sure we have a clear common understanding of what the direct effects are and what the collateral consequences might be’ if such action were to be taken by the group. .

Leaders were also expected to discuss how to sustain climate change commitments while addressing critical energy supply needs brought about by the war.

“There is no watering down of climate commitments,” John Kirby, spokesman for Biden’s National Security Council, said on Saturday as the president flew to Germany.

Biden is also set to officially launch a global infrastructure partnership designed to counter China’s influence in the developing world. He named it “Building a Better World” and presented the program at last year’s G-7 summit.

Biden and other leaders will announce the first projects that will benefit from what the United States sees as an “alternative to infrastructure models that sell debt traps to low- and middle-income partner countries,” Kirby said. The projects are also expected to help advance the economic competitiveness of the United States and our national security,” he said.

Following the conclusion of the G-7 summit on Tuesday, Biden will travel to Madrid for a summit of leaders of NATO’s 30 members to align strategy on the war in Ukraine.

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Superville reported from Telfs, Austria. Associated Press writers Jill Lawless in London and Geir Moulson in Elmau, Germany, contributed to this report.

Christi C. Elwood