As G7 leaders meet, Russia sends a message with missile attacks.

Source: www.nytimes.com : 2022-06-26 10:35:37 : Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Valerie Hopkins

Russia unleashed a new round of missiles at Kyiv on Sunday, the first attack on the Ukrainian capital in weeks, an apparent show of defiance as a summit of the world’s biggest democracies opened on Sunday with new steps to isolate Moscow.

President Biden announced that the Group of 7 nations would ban imports of gold from Russia, the latest effort by Ukraine’s Western allies to choke the flow of cash to President Vladimir V. Putin’s government. The summit in the Bavarian Alps on Sunday and Monday was also expected to discuss possible attempts to tighten sanctions on Russian oil.

As the fighting in Ukraine grinds into its fifth month, the leaders of G7 countries — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States — are seeking to maintain unity against Russia in the face of the war’s growing toll on the global economy. The Western sanctions intended to create pain for Russia have sent food and energy prices skyrocketing across the world, even as Moscow’s war machine has shown little sign of slowing down.

Russian oil exports have plummeted but soaring fuel prices have actually seen the country’s oil revenues rise. Since April, when Russian forces turned their attention to capturing more of Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region after failing to seize the capital, Kyiv, they have made slow, bloody gains, including capturing the city of Sievierodonetsk on Saturday after weeks of fighting.

Russia has also escalated its use of cruise missiles, launching dozens of strikes over the weekend at targets across Ukraine. Besides the attack in Kyiv, which left at least one person dead, explosions were reported on Sunday in the northeastern city of Kharkiv, and air raid sirens were heard in several other cities.

President Biden, appearing at a G7 welcome ceremony with Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, responded briefly to a reporter who asked for his reaction to the Russian strike in Kyiv.

“It’s more of their barbarism,” he said.

Mr. Biden will attempt to prepare his fellow G7 leaders for a long slog in Ukraine and to find ways to mitigate the war’s economic disruption. Discussions at the meeting — and at a NATO summit to follow — will also focus on how to increase military support for Ukraine as the latest round of U.S. aid reaches the battlefield.

The Ukrainian military said that it had begun to use truck-mounted rocket artillery launchers, an advanced weapons system that is expected to help slow the Russian advance in the east, where the Ukrainian military has been outgunned by Moscow’s long-range artillery.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said he would take part in the G7 summit on Monday. In an overnight address, he renewed his demand for Washington and its allies to deliver more advanced weapons.

“Ukraine needs more armed assistance, and that air defense systems — the modern systems that our partners have — should be not in training areas or storage facilities, but in Ukraine, where they are now needed,” Mr. Zelensky said in his nightly address on Saturday.

Jim Tankersley contributed reporting.



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