G-7 leaders mark VE Day, stress unity and support for Ukraine
Leaders from the Group of Seven developed democracies pledged Sunday to phasing out or banning the import of Russian oil, as they met with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, for online talks to stress their support and to display unity among Western allies on Victory in Europe Day, which marks Nazi Germany’s surrender in 1945.
Cutting out Russian oil supplies “will hit hard at the main artery of (President Vladimir) Putin’s economy and deny him the revenue he needs to fund his war,” the G-7 countries, which include the U.S., Britain, Canada, Germany, France and Italy and Japan, said in a statement.
“We will ensure that we do so in a timely and orderly fashion, and in ways that provide time for the world to secure alternative supplies,” they added.
Casting a look back at World War II, the leaders stressed unity in their resolve that Putin must not win.
“We owe it to the memory of all those who fought for freedom in the Second World War, to continue fighting for it today, for the people of Ukraine, Europe and the global community,” they said.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s call with the G-7 leaders and Zelenskyy lasted about an hour.
Italy Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s office said in a statement that the G-7 leaders “reiterated the commitment to diversify energy sources, reducing. dependence on Russian supplies.” Italy, heavily dependent on Russian natural gas when the war began, has since secured several agreements for alternative gas supplies from other countries. Draghi is scheduled to meet with Biden in Washington on Tuesday.
The U.S. also announced new sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. They include cutting off Western advertising from Russia’s three biggest television stations, banning U.S. accounting and consulting firms from providing services to any Russian, and piling additional restrictions on Russia’s industrial sector, including cutting off Moscow from wood products, industrial engines, boilers, bulldozers and more.
The White House announced the new sanctions ahead of the May 9 Victory Day, when Russia traditionally celebrates Nazi Germany’s defeat in 1945 with huge military parades.