Zelenskyy asks G7 to turn tide of war by winter as it vows support 'as long as it takes'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed summit in Germany remotely

The second day of the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau in Germany. Getty
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G7 leaders promised on Monday to support Ukraine for "as long as it takes" as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged them to turn the war in his favour before winter.

Mr Zelenskyy told the G7 summit that Ukrainian cities "far from the front" were in danger from intensifying Russian rocket strikes, a day after missiles hit Kyiv in the first attack there for three weeks.

Addressing the summit in Germany by video link, he asked for air defence systems and urged the G7 to back a proposal to force down oil prices, being pushed by American diplomats at the talks.

His message to the G7 was that the war should shift in Ukraine's favour "in the next months as opposed to the next years" and that Ukraine's military should "make maximum use of the next few months", US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said.

The US said it would bring in new sanctions on Russia's military to slow its recovery from wartime losses, as part of what it called "significant new sanctions commitments" agreed at the Alpine retreat.

The leaders said sanctions would last as long as necessary, and would expand into Russia's industrial base and seek reduce its revenues from gold and energy.

"We will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes," they said in a joint statement on Ukraine.

"We are committed to sustaining and intensifying international economic and political pressure on President Putin’s regime and its enablers in Belarus."

Leaders did not announce an agreement on the proposal backed by Mr Zelenskyy to impose a price cap on Russian oil, by denying insurance to shipments whose cargoes flout the limit.

However, a US official said diplomats at Schloss Elmau were "very close to a place where G7 leaders will have decided" on such a measure.

Mr Zelenskyy called on leaders to hit Russia with a "radical restriction of its oil revenue" as well as confiscating its frozen assets and naming it a state sponsor of terrorism.

Responding to his request for missile defence, Mr Sullivan said the US was working on an aid package that would include air defence and radar systems. The leaders collectively said they would work together to "meet Ukraine's urgent requirements".

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, hosting the talks, said the G7 countries would take the “tough but necessary decisions” to keep supporting Ukraine and increase pressure on Russia.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised to “stay the course” despite concerns over war fatigue and questions over whether sanctions can be maintained in the face of rising energy costs and potential gas shortages next winter, especially if the conflict drags on.

Mr Scholz said the war “has to come to an end”, while European Council president Charles Michel said leaders would get “everything mobilised” for Ukraine with money, weapons and political support.

“Zelenskyy’s not just been standing up for Ukrainians, as Ukrainians fight like heroes … they’ve been standing up for the principles and the values that bind us together as democracies,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The US said it would seek to weaken Russia’s armed forces as well as strengthening Ukraine’s by bringing in sanctions on military hardware.

Major state-owned defence companies as well as research organisations and dozens of other entities in the supply chain will be hit by the US State and Treasury Departments, the White House said.

It said this would restrict Russia’s access to services and technology and “limit Russia’s ability to replace the military equipment it has already lost during its brutal war against Ukraine”.

Russia has acknowledged suffering substantial losses during a four-month invasion which, western officials believe, it expected to be over much quicker.

Ukraine claims about 35,000 Russian troops have been killed and that Moscow has lost more than 1,500 tanks, about 220 aircraft, 180 helicopters and 770 artillery systems.

Four of the G7 countries on Sunday announced sanctions on Russian gold to increase the financial pressure on the Kremlin, and the European Union said it was considering following suit.

US President Joe Biden wants to squeeze Russia further by collecting more money from tariffs and putting that money towards the reconstruction of Ukraine - an idea also backed by Mr Zelenskyy.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron said the war was at a critical moment and there was an “opportunity to turn the tide,” according to a British account of their conversation.

It said Mr Johnson had stressed that “any attempt to settle the conflict now will only cause enduring instability and give Putin licence to manipulate both sovereign countries and international markets in perpetuity.”

This was an apparent reference to Mr Macron’s efforts, criticised by some, to keep lines of communication open with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But a European official close to the G7 talks said no country had given a sense of wanting to pursue a hasty peace deal.

Updated: June 28, 2022, 3:39 AM