Biden urges G7 to stick together as leaders target Russian gold
- Biden says Russia failed to split G7
- Biden condemns ‘barbarism’ as missiles hit Kyiv
- Gold ban targets ‘Putin’s war machine’, says UK PM
- Oil import price cap also under discussion, German source says
SCHLOSS ELMAU, Germany, June 26 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden told his allies “we must stick together” against Russia on Sunday as G7 leaders gathered for a summit expected to be dominated by the war in Ukraine and its impact on food and energy. supply and the global economy.
At the start of the meeting in the Bavarian Alps, four of the wealthy Group of Seven countries decided to ban imports of Russian gold in order to tighten sanctions on Moscow and cut off its means of financing the invasion. Ukraine.
However, it was not immediately clear whether there was a consensus on the move, with European Council President Charles Michel saying the issue needed to be handled carefully. Read more
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Germany also expected its proposed temporary waiver of biofuel mandates, designed to tackle soaring food prices, to fail to gain G7 support due to US and Canadian resistance. Read more
Western nations rallied around Kyiv when Russia invaded Ukraine in February, but more than four months into the war, that unity is being tested as soaring inflation and energy shortages affect their own citizens.
Reprimanded by Ukraine for not going far enough to punish Russia, the G7 leaders were also having “really constructive” talks about a possible cap on Russian oil prices, a German government source said.
At the start of a bilateral meeting, Biden thanked German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for showing leadership in Ukraine and said Russian President Vladimir Putin had failed to break their unity.
“Putin has been counting on it from the beginning that NATO and the G7 will somehow break up. But we haven’t and we’re not going to,” Biden said.
“PUTIN’S WAR MACHINE”
Delegates from Group of Seven countries – Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States – were greeted with flowers as Bavarian mountain skirmishers stood to attention in the sunshine at Schloss Elmau, a castle at the foot of the Wetterstein mountains.
Leaders are expected to discuss options for tackling rising energy prices and replacing Russian oil and gas imports, as well as sanctions that don’t deepen the cost of living crisis affecting their own populations.
Soaring global energy and food prices are hitting economic growth following the conflict in Ukraine, with the United Nations warning of an “unprecedented global hunger crisis”. Read more
Climate change should also be on the G7 agenda.
Britain said the ban on Russian gold imports was aimed at wealthy Russians who were buying safe-haven bullion to lessen the financial impact of Western sanctions. Russian gold exports were worth $15.5 billion last year.
“The measures we announced today will hit the Russian oligarchs directly and strike at the heart of Putin’s war machine,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.
On the oil price cap and the gold import ban, European Michel said the issues should be discussed further. Read more
A French presidency official said Paris would push for a cap on oil and gas prices and was open to discussing a US proposal. However, he said the G7 must strive for a maximum oil price and that this required the buy-in of oil producers from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies in a group. called OPEC+, which includes Russia.
“We need to have discussions with OPEC+ and producing countries to achieve this,” the official said.
As missiles hit the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Sunday, hitting an apartment building and a kindergarten, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the G7 must respond with more weapons and tougher sanctions against Russia. Read more
Biden called the strikes an act of “barbarism.”
The summit provides an opportunity for Scholz to show more assertive leadership in the Ukraine crisis.
He swore a revolution in German foreign and defense policy after Russia invaded in February, but critics have since accused him of dragging his feet.
Scholz invited Senegal, Argentina, Indonesia, India and South Africa as partner countries at the summit. Many countries in the South are worried about the collateral damage of Western sanctions.
Oxfam and other campaign groups said the pain of food price spikes for developing countries was “visceral”.
They want G7 leaders to tax excessive corporate profits to help those affected by the food crisis, cancel the debts of the poorest countries and support developing countries in their fight against the food crisis and climate change.
An EU official said the G7 countries would make it clear to partner countries that the rise in food prices was the result of Russia’s actions and not Western sanctions.
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Reporting by Sarah Marsh, Andreas Rinke, Andrea Shalal, Philip Blenkinsop, John Irish and William Schomberg; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky; Written by Sarah Marsh, Matthias Williams and Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Peter Graff, David Goodman and David Clarke
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