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G7 leaders' summit takes place in Italy: Zelenskyy arrives, decision on frozen Russian assets made

Oleksiy LutykovPolitics
War in Ukraine will be the focus of the summit. Source: g7italy.it

On June 13, the Group of Seven leaders' summit starts in Italy, with Russia's war against Ukraine and the armed conflict in the Middle East as the main topics. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will also attend the event, and he plans to meet with White House Chief of Staff Joe Biden.

Also during the summit, politicians will finally decide on the fate of Russian assets frozen after Russia attacked Ukraine. OBOZ.UA found out what our country should expect from the meeting in Italy.

In addition to the leaders of the G7 countries – Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Japan – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Brazilian and Argentine Presidents Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Javier Milei are expected to attend the summit.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said that the G7 summit in Italy is intended to demonstrate unity in the most turbulent times. According to her, this unity is needed primarily for the sake of Ukraine's freedom.

"We are working on further financial support. Unity for a peaceful and stable Middle East and a three-step plan. Unity in a free and open Indo-Pacific," the European Commission President said in a statement.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has already arrived at the summit. The Head of State had a chance to talk to the Prime Minister of Italy George Meloni, the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau, and the President of the European Council Charles Michel.

Russia's war against Ukraine is at the center of attention of the G7

Russia's war in Ukraine is the main topic on the agenda of the G7 summit. During his consultations with the G7 leaders, the Ukrainian president is expected to once again emphasize the need for the Armed Forces to repel Russian aggression. Zelenskyy is likely to ask his partners for more long-range weapons, ammunition, and even more air defense capabilities.

It is worth noting that on the eve of the summit, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz promised to provide Ukraine with additional air defense systems. At the same time, other European countries, including those with Patriot air defense systems, which Ukraine needs, are delaying the delivery of weapons systems.

Before the opening of the summit, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the main topics for Ukraine would be the development of a coalition of fighter jets, accelerated pilot training, and accelerated delivery of aircraft. Attention will also be focused on the development of the Ukrainian air defense system based on the most powerful Western systems and the increase of long-range capabilities. In addition, the head of state expects the G7 leaders to approve a format for using Russian assets in favor of Ukraine.

Zelenskyy also said that bilateral security agreements would be signed at the summit not only with the United States but also with Japan. The president emphasized that the document with the United States would be unprecedented, as befits leaders who support Ukraine.

G7 leaders' summit takes place in Italy: Zelenskyy arrives, decision on frozen Russian assets made

United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that support for Ukraine's air defense remains a priority. At the same time, in addition to Patriot air defense missile systems, other systems should be transferred.

"As for Patriot. You know that air defense is a priority. We emphasize every time that we need to provide Ukraine with additional Patriot systems. But not only that, we spend a lot of time urging other countries to provide not only Patriots but other air defense systems to Ukraine," Austin said.

He noted that there are currently no new announcements regarding Patriot, but all efforts are aimed at providing Ukraine with additional capabilities as soon as possible.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on the sidelines of the G7 summit that the partners "will show unity for a free Ukraine and a peaceful Middle East."

"In turbulent times, the strongest message we can send is unity. Unity for the sake of Ukraine's freedom. We are working for further financial support," she said.

The President noted that the G7 summit had reaffirmed clear support for Ukraine, international law, and a just peace.

"Every day we strengthen our positions and add strength to our defense of life. Every meeting is for the sake of Ukraine getting new opportunities for victory. I am grateful to all our partners!" he added.

Sending NATO troops to Ukraine

In addition, the issue of deploying Western military forces to Ukraine is likely to be raised during the G7 summit in Italy. To date, the G7 countries have not reached a consensus on this issue. France remains the most active, as President Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly said that he is ready to send his troops to Ukraine.

The United Kingdom is also open to sending its military to Ukraine, but so far it is only about instructors and advisors who can train Ukrainian soldiers. At the same time, Germany, Italy, and the United States are categorically against sending Western troops to Ukraine.

Multibillion-dollar support for Ukraine

The chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Finance, Taxation, and Customs Policy, Danylo Hetmantsev, said that the G7 summit in Italy would be very important for Ukraine in financial terms, as one of the main topics to be discussed at the meeting at the initiative of the United States will be the securitization of Russian assets.

According to him, it is a question of issuing securities backed by income from the frozen assets of the Russian bank in the long term. Through the sale of these securities, it is planned to provide Ukraine with concessional financing worth about $50 billion starting in 2025. At the same time, Hetmantsev emphasized that there are still many unresolved issues regarding how the deal will be structured. In particular, it is not yet known which countries will provide funding and in what proportion, and how guarantees will be provided that the assets, most of which are in the EU, will remain frozen for a long time and generate cash flow.

Mr. Hetmantsev is confident that if the issue of financing is approved, it will be a very important milestone for Ukraine in the coming years. According to him, this will help to cover the need for external financing for 2025, which the Ministry of Finance estimates at $32 billion. The parliamentarian also emphasized that Ukraine will be able to receive a guarantee of such funding regardless of political cycles, including the US elections.

The G7 countries have agreed to allocate $50 billion from the proceeds of frozen Russian assets to support Ukraine's defense, economy, and recovery. The money will be available closer to 2025. Final technical details of the agreement will be agreed upon after the summit. The aid can be used to support Ukraine's defense, economy, and recovery. The G7 leaders have repeatedly stated that the assets will remain blocked until Russia agrees to pay for Ukraine's reconstruction.

According to Bloomberg, the loan Ukraine will receive will be repaid from the profits generated by Russia's blocked assets. The deal is expected to provide critical support for Kyiv in the medium term. In particular, it will help cover the country's financial needs until 2025 and beyond.

At the same time, the proceeds from Russia's frozen assets are estimated at 3 to 5 billion euros ($3.24 to $5.39 billion).

However, the repayment of the loan will depend on how long Russia's assets remain frozen. G7 leaders have repeatedly stated that assets will be blocked until Russia agrees to pay for Ukraine's recovery.

Zelenskyy and Biden meet on the sidelines of the G7

On the eve of the G7 summit in Italy, the White House announced bilateral talks between US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. John Kirby, Strategic Communications Coordinator at the US Security Council, said that the heads of state would meet to discuss "strong support for Ukraine, both now and in the future." Kirby also promised that Biden and Zelenskyy would hold a press conference following the meeting.

The White House promises that during the G7 summit, bold steps will be taken to show dictator Vladimir Putin that time is not on his side and he will not be able to wait out the US support in the fight for the freedom of the Ukrainian people. The White House spokesman also emphasized that Russian aggression not only threatens democracy in Ukraine but affects security in the whole of Europe.

In addition, according to media reports, Zelenskyy and Biden intend to sign a bilateral agreement on security guarantees during the talks. According to the US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, by signing such an agreement, the United States will make it clear that its support for Ukraine will continue for a long time in the future.

G7 leaders' summit takes place in Italy: Zelenskyy arrives, decision on frozen Russian assets made

Pope to hold bilateral talks with world leaders at G7 summit

The press service of the Holy See has announced that Pope Francis will take part in the G7 Summit, which is currently taking place in Borgo Eniazia, Puglia, Italy. In particular, he will speak at a session dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI).

The Pope will also hold his first series of bilateral meetings with Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund; President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy; President of France Emmanuel Macron; and Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau.

The Pope is scheduled to deliver a speech at 14:15 local time in the Sala Arena, followed by a group photo at 17:30 after the other speeches.

The second series of bilateral meetings will be followed by the Pope's meetings with President of Kenya William Samoei Ruto; Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India; U.S. President Joseph Biden; Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil; Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey; and President of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune

Earlier it was reported that the leaders of the G7 countries reached an agreement to allocate $50 billion for Ukraine through the use of frozen Russian assets. The decision will be made at the G7 summit scheduled for June 13-15.

Earlier, Washington said that U.S. President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron support the use of profits from frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine.

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