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Zelenskyy will go to G7 summit in Hiroshima as more Russian sanctions are announced

Author: Editors Desk Source: CBC News:
May 19, 2023 at 06:14
(Franck Robichon/Reuters)
(Franck Robichon/Reuters)
The subject of war is expected to dominate summit

Canada, the U.S. and the rest of Group of Seven allies planned to unveil new sanctions and export controls against individuals and companies supporting Russia's war effort in Ukraine.

The gathering of the world's major democratic economies will also hear from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who will attend in person, according to a senior Ukrainian official.

Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, confirmed on national television Fridday that Zelenskyy would attend the summit on Sunday.

In his nightly address to his people Thursday, Zelenskyy said he is seeking more modern weapons from the country's allies.

"Our priorities for this week, next week, and for the near future are additional air defence systems, additional missiles, training and aircraft, and long-range weapons," Zelenskyy said.

"And this will be fulfilled."

A man with a beard dressed in a khaki jacket stands at a microphone podium.
The gathering of the world's major democratic economies will hear from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is expected to attend in person, according to multiple international media reports.  (Omar Marques/Getty Images)

The Biden administration has signalled to European allies that the U.S. would allow them to export F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, CNN reported late Thursday, on the eve of the G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan.

The network quoted unnamed senior administration officials, who added that they weren't aware of any allied country that has asked for permission to export the 4th generation warplanes, which are more advanced than what Ukranian pilots currently fly.

The leaders have arrived and Prime MInister Justin Trudeau has held a series of bilateral meetings, including with the host leader Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, with whom he raised the issue of curbs and discrimination against gay couples in that country.

"Obviously, Canada is concerned about some of the positioning that Italy is taking in terms of LGBT rights, but I look forward to talking about that," Trudeau said.


A man in a dark suit sits at a table, signing a document with a pen. To his right, a woman in a pale blue suit, clasps her hands.
Trudeau raised the issue of curbs and discrimination against gay couples in Italy with the country's prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, above left. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan/Reuters)

Meloni responded that her government is following court decisions and is not deviating from previous administrations.

Canada to unveil more sanctions

The war in Ukraine, however, was the dominant theme Friday.

A senior Canadian official, speaking on background, said early Friday that the sanctions Canada plans to unveil will target 17 people and 18 Russian companies that "provide military technology." A further 30 individuals are being sanctioned for human rights violations.

It comes at a crucial time as allied military observers have noted Russia's increased use of new hypersonic missiles in air attacks on Ukraine — a possible sign of increased production.

The U.K. plans to ban the import of Russian diamonds — an industry worth about $4 billion US per year — as part of its latest sanctions package, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said ahead of the summit. Canada has already sanctioned the Russian diamond industry.

Other countries have been slow to act. G7 leaders are expected to discuss measures on how to better trace the diamond trade, with the intention of the European Union to impose sanctions at a later date, a senior EU official told Reuters.

The message was reinforced by the president of the European Council.

"Russian diamonds are not forever," Charles Michel told reporters on the margins of the summit.

The allies have continued to ratchet up sanctions and export-control pressure on Russia since the invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022. 

Canada says sanctions are working

Thousands of targets hit with sanctions by Washington so far have included Russian President Vladimir Putin, the financial sector and oligarchs.

Experts have said to expect G7 leaders to focus on tightening existing sanctions and putting in place measures to counter sanctions evasion. A recent U.S. Treasury Department report noted how Russian elites have transferred ownership of companies and assets to family members — or other proxies — in an attempt to hide wealth.

Speaking ahead of the summit, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly insisted the sanctions regime imposed on Russia is working.

"We've seen that the impact of the G7 sanctions against Russia have really impacted, negatively, their military, particularly the possibility for the Russian army to be able to have access to key technologies coming from the west," she said.

"Meanwhile, we know we have to look at the question of sanctions evasion. The [G7]  ministers of finance have looked into this and the foreign ministers have looked into this, and the leaders will be looking into this as well."

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