Summit meeting: Selenskyj speaks at the G7 summit

summit meeting
Zelenskyj speaks at G7 summit

“We are also united by our belief in democracy and the rule of law”: On the first day of the summit, the G7 states emphasized their unity in the fight against Putin’s war. Photo: Michael Kappeler/dpa

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The President of Ukraine speaks via video to participants at the G7 summit. At the edge of the summit, a photo in front of a world-famous wooden bench provides a topic of conversation.

Connected from the war to the Bavarian Alpine idyll: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj was connected to the first working session of the heads of state and government on Monday morning. The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine will be one of the dominant topics on the second day of the summit.

Selenskyj had already called for more military aid for his country at the weekend. The G7 also announced tightening of sanctions with an import ban on Russian gold.

Zelenskyj sees Ukraine in a difficult phase of the war. For the first time in three weeks, the capital Kyiv was fired at with rockets again at the weekend. In addition, after weeks of fighting, Russia was able to take control of the city of Sievjerodonetsk in eastern Ukraine.

“We need powerful air defense – modern, fully effective,” he said in his daily video speech on Monday night. Any delay in arms deliveries to Ukraine is an invitation to Russia to strike further, Zelensky said. The G7 countries, which include Germany, the US, Canada, the UK, France, Italy and Japan, together had so much potential “to stop Russian aggression against Ukraine and Europe,” Zelensky said.

EU and G7 demonstrate unity

On the first day of the summit, the G7 states had already emphasized their unity in the fight against Putin’s war. “We are united by our view of the world, we are also united by our belief in democracy and the rule of law,” stressed Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). It is important to act decisively and as one.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen emphasized in TV interviews that evening that the group was determined to support Ukraine for as long as it was necessary. “Because this is a question that concerns us all in democracies. The autocrats of this world are watching very closely what is happening – and it is all the more important that we as democracies support the brave Ukraine,” she told the ARD “Tagesthemen”.

Von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel also take part in all three days of the G7 summit as representatives of the European Union.

Posing in front of the famous wooden bench

A picture on a world-famous wooden bench provided a topic of conversation on Sunday evening: the nine summit participants posed on the same bench where an iconic photo was taken at the G7 summit in 2015. Seven years ago, then-US President Barack Obama sat there, his arms spread out on the backrest, while ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel talked to him.

This time, the summit participants lined up behind the bench, some laid their arms almost amicably over the shoulders of the person next to them, the mood seemed relaxed. A working session was held before the photo session, which was supposed to deal with foreign and security policy and thus also with the war in Ukraine.

Climate crisis and famine in focus

On Monday, after the talks with Selenskyj, host Scholz wants to expand the advisory group again: the heads of state and government of the host countries India, Indonesia, South Africa, Senegal and Argentina are to sit at the table from noon. The larger group wants to discuss the climate crisis and health. Scholz is striving for an international climate club with the G7 countries as its core. In this, international climate policy is to be coordinated more closely in order to prevent countries that adhere to stricter requirements from being at a competitive disadvantage.

However, the pressing issue for the extended G7 group is likely to be the threatening famine caused by the war in Ukraine. According to the World Food Program, 50 million people worldwide are on the brink of starvation. The UN organization assesses the situation in Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia as catastrophic. 750,000 people in particularly affected countries are threatened with starvation.

Ironically, the Ukraine and Russia are the largest wheat exporters worldwide. They usually cover almost a third of global demand – but because Russia is blocking the Ukrainian ports, a lot of grain cannot be exported. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is also to be included in the deliberations on global food security.

The summit of the seven important democratic industrialized countries began on Sunday afternoon and will last until Tuesday. In addition to Germany, the group of seven includes the USA, Canada, Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan.


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