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G7 ends with Ukraine in focus as Zelensky meets world leaders

Updated on: 22 May,2023 08:03 AM IST  |  Hiroshima
Agencies |

The Ukrainian leader’s in-person appearance underscored the centrality of the war for the G7 bloc of rich democracies

G7 ends with Ukraine in focus as Zelensky meets world leaders

The police prepare to confront protesters marching against the G7 meeting in Hiroshima. Pic/AP

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky huddled with some of his biggest backers as the Group of Seven summit closed in Hiroshima on Sunday, building momentum for his country’s war effort even as Russia claimed a symbolic victory on the battlefield.

The Ukrainian leader’s in-person appearance underscored the centrality of the war for the G7 bloc of rich democracies. It also stole much of the limelight from other priorities, including security challenges in Asia and outreach to the developing world, that the leaders focused on at the three-day gathering.

“G7 reaffirmed our commitment to continue our strong backing for Ukraine from every possible dimension,” Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said. Zelensky held two major rounds of meetings on Sunday and held one-on-one talks with several of the leaders.

Also Read: PM strongly calls for reform of the UN 

Bakhmut is only in our hearts, says Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday that Bakhmut was “only in our hearts,” hours after Russia’s defense ministry reported that forces of the Wagner private army, with the support of Russian troops, had seized the city in eastern Ukraine.

Speaking alongside US President Joe Biden at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Zelensky said the Russians had destroyed “everything.” “You have to understand that there is nothing,” he said. “For today, Bakhmut is only in our hearts,” he said. “There is nothing in this place.”

Fresh sanctions to be slapped against Russia 

The Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies are expected to announce a new set of sanctions against Russia to try to further hinder its war effort in Ukraine during their summit in Hiroshima, Japan.

Russia is now the most-sanctioned country in the world, but there are questions about their effectiveness. EU Council President Charles Michel said the plan was to close loopholes and ensure the sanctions are painful for Russia, not for the countries enforcing them.

‘Situation in Ukraine a human rights issue, not politics’

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday said he views the current situation in Ukraine as an issue of humanity and human values and not of politics or economy even as he called for respecting international law, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.

In an address at a G7 session in Hiroshima, Modi pitched for raising voice collectively against unilateral attempts to change the status quo, asserting that any dispute should be resolved peacefully through dialogue.

China urged to press Russia to end war

The G7 group united in urging China to pressure its strategic partner Russia to end its war on Ukraine and resolve territorial disputes peacefully.

In a joint statement, the G7 leaders emphasised they did not want to harm China and were seeking “constructive and stable relations” with Beijing, “recognising the importance of engaging candidly with and expressing our concerns directly to China.”

“We call on China to press Russia to stop its military aggression, and immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw its troops from Ukraine,” said the statement Saturday.

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