G7 stiffens resolve to thwart Russia, gives Zelenskiy chance to win over fence sitters

AFP

The Group of Seven (G7) rich nations signalled to Russia their readiness to stand by Ukraine for the long haul while giving President Volodymyr Zelenskiy a chance to win over countries such as Brazil and India on the last day of a summit in Japan.

Distrust of China as a trading partner and determination to help Ukraine repel Russia's invasion were the key messages delivered by the world's leading democracies at the gathering in the city of Hiroshima.

But even as the G7 leaders began wrapping up their three-day meeting on Sunday, Russia claimed to have finally captured the battered eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, following a months-long siege that marked the bloodiest battle of the war.

The leaders of the G7 nations - the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada - have debated how to respond as the conflict that began in February last year drags on.

Potential joint allied training programmes for Ukrainian pilots on US-made F-16 warplanes was a message to Russia that it should not expect to succeed in its invasion by prolonging conflict, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Sunday.

Ukraine has not won commitments for delivery of the planes, but President Joe Biden and senior US officials told G7 leaders Washington supports joint allied training programmes for Ukrainian pilots on F-16s.

French President Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, said the summit was an opportunity to convince big emerging states such as India and Brazil to come off the fence and put their support behind Ukraine.

Macron made the comment to reporters a day after calling Zelenskiy's surprise visit at the summit a "game changer".

Shortly after Zelenskiy arrived in Japan, Russia claimed victory in Bakhmut. Hours before the claims from Moscow, Ukraine had rejected a claim by Russian mercenary chief Yevgeny Prigozhin that his Wagner fighters had completed the capture of the city.

More from International

  • German police shoot axe-wielding man at Euro 2024 parade

    German police fired shots at a person who threatened officers with a pickaxe and an incendiary device on the sidelines of a Euro 2024 fan parade in central Hamburg, according to a police post on social media platform X.

  • Hamas Gaza ceasefire proposal reply 'consistent' with US plan

    Hamas' response to the latest Gaza ceasefire proposal is consistent with the principles put forward in US President Joe Biden's plan, the group's Qatar-based leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a televised speech on the occasion of the Islamic Eid al-Adha.

  • Israel announces tactical pause to allow Gaza aid

    The Israeli military said it would hold daily tactical pauses in military activity in parts of southern Gaza to allow more aid to flow into the enclave, where international aid organisations have warned of a growing humanitarian crisis.

  • US VP Harris announces $1.5 billion Ukraine aid

    US Vice President Kamala Harris pledged America's unwavering support for Ukraine and announced more than $1.5 billion (AED 5.5 billion) in aid for the country's energy sector and its humanitarian situation as a result of Russia's 27-month invasion.

  • Ukraine summit strives for consensus to lean on Russia to end conflict

    Western powers and countries from the rest of the world will use the second day of a major summit in Switzerland to pursue a consensus on condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine and underscoring concerns about the conflict's human cost.