G7 leaders consider new sanctions on Russia at Hiroshima summit

Canada, the United States and the rest of the Group of Seven allies planned to unveil new sanctions and export controls against individuals and companies supporting Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.

The gathering of the world’s major democratic economies will hear Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is expected to attend in person, according to several international media.

Canadian officials, speaking in the background, did not confirm that the Ukrainian president would attend in person, but noted that the subject of the war, which was to be discussed on Friday, has been pushed back to Saturday.

In his late night address to his people on Thursday, Zelenskyy said he was seeking more modern weapons from the country’s allies.

“Our priorities for this week, next week and in the near future are additional air defense systems, missiles, additional training and aircraft, and long-range weapons,” Zelenskyy said.

“And this will be accomplished.”

The gathering of the world’s major democratic economies will hear Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is expected to attend in person, according to several international media. (Omar Marques/Getty Images)

The Biden administration has signaled to European allies that the United States will allow them to export F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, CNN reported Thursday night, on the eve of the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan.

The network quoted unnamed senior administration officials, who added that they were not aware of any allied country that had requested permission to export the 4th generation warplanes, which are more advanced than what Ukrainian pilots are currently flying.

The leaders arrived and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a series of bilateral meetings, including with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, with whom he raised the issue of restrictions and discrimination against couples. homosexuals in this country. .

“Obviously Canada is concerned about some of the positioning that Italy is taking in terms of LGBT rights, but I look forward to talking about that,” Trudeau said.

A man in a dark suit sits at a table and signs a document with a pen.  To his right, a woman in a pale blue suit, clasped her hands.
Trudeau raised the issue of restrictions and discrimination against same-sex couples in Italy with the country’s prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, top left. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan/Reuters)

Meloni replied that his government followed court rulings and did not deviate from previous administrations.

Canada to unveil new sanctions

The war in Ukraine, however, was the dominant theme on Friday.

A senior Canadian official, speaking in the background, said Friday morning that the sanctions Canada plans to unveil will target Russian companies that “supply military technology”.

It comes at a crucial time as Allied military observers have noted Russia’s increased use of new hypersonic missiles in air strikes against Ukraine – a possible sign of increased production.

The UK plans to ban the import of Russian diamonds – an industry worth around US$4 billion a year – as part of its latest sanctions package, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said before the top. Canada has already sanctioned the Russian diamond industry.

WATCH | A retired US admiral thinks West will supply fighter jets to Ukraine:

Fighter jets for Ukraine will probably arrive soon: retired American admiral

Retired Admiral Mike Mullen, former chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he thought it was probably only a matter of time before the West would supply fighter jets to Ukraine to help the country defend its airspace.

Other countries have been slow to act. G7 leaders are expected to discuss measures to better trace the diamond trade, with the intention of the European Union to impose sanctions at a later date, a senior EU official told Reuters.

The message was reinforced by the President of the European Council.

“Russian diamonds are not forever,” Charles Michel told reporters on the sidelines of the summit.

Allies have continued to tighten sanctions and export control pressure on Russia since the invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.

Canada says sanctions are working

So far, thousands of targets slapped with sanctions by Washington include Russian President Vladimir Putin, the financial sector and the oligarchs.

Experts said they expect G7 leaders to focus on strengthening existing sanctions and putting in place measures to counter sanctions evasion. A recent US Treasury Department report noted how Russian elites transferred ownership of businesses and assets to family members – or other proxies – in an effort to hide wealth.

Speaking ahead of the summit, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly insisted the sanctions regime imposed on Russia was working.

“We’ve seen that the impact of the G7 sanctions on Russia has really had a negative impact on their military, especially the ability of the Russian military to have access to key technologies coming from the west,” he said. she declared.

“In the meantime, we know we have to look at the issue of circumvention of sanctions. [G7] finance ministers have looked at this and foreign ministers have looked at this, and leaders are going to look at this as well.”

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