Boris Johnson joins G7 leaders in video conference

Boris Johnson joins G7 leaders in video conference as the group vows to ‘elevate’ campaign against Russian elites who support Putin

  • Mr Johnson joined leaders from US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan
  • The group held support talks with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky 
  • G7 leaders said sanctions on Russia would cut off key services it depends on
  • Also committed to phasing out dependencies on Russian energy, including oil
  • Came after the UK announced it would provide an extra 1.3 billion to Ukraine 

Boris Johnson joined G7 leaders in a video conference today, during which they vowed to ‘elevate’ their campaign against Russian elites who support Vladimir Putin.

The British Prime Minister, along with U.S. President Joe Biden and the leaders of the EU, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan held talks with President Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss support for Ukraine and to display unity among Western allies on Victory in Europe Day, which marks Nazi Germany’s surrender in 1945.

The leaders said they would cut off key services on which Russia depends, reinforcing the isolation of Russia ‘across all sectors of its economy.’

They also committed to phasing out dependency on Russian energy, including by banning imports of Russian oil, to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine.

‘We will continue and elevate our campaign against the financial elites and family members, who support President Putin in his war effort and squander the resources of the Russian people,’ the sG7 leaders said in a statement.

‘Russia has violated the international rules-based order, particularly the UN Charter, conceived after the Second World War to spare successive generations from the scourge of war. We remain united in our resolve that President Putin must not win his war against Ukraine,’ it added. 

The leaders condemned Russia’s ‘indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, which has resulted in terrible humanitarian catastrophe in the heart of Europe’. 

Putin calls the invasion a ‘special military operation’ to disarm Ukraine and rid it of anti-Russian nationalism fomented by the West. Ukraine and its allies say Russia launched an unprovoked war.

Pictured: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (top-left) is seen with U.S. President Joe Biden (top-right) and other leaders of the G7 during a video conference call today 

The leaders said in a statement (pictured) they would cut off key services on which Russia depends, reinforcing the isolation of Russia ‘across all sectors of its economy.’ They also committed to phasing out dependency on Russian energy, including by banning imports of Russian oil, to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine

Ahead of the call, U.K. officials said Britain will provide an extra 1.3 billion pounds in military support to Ukraine to help the nation defend itself against Russian forces.

The funding, which comes from British government reserves, includes 300 million pounds of military kit promised by Mr Johnson this week, such as radar systems to target Russian artillery, GPS jamming equipment and night vision devices.

The United States on Sunday unveiled sanctions against three Russian television stations, banned Americans from providing accounting and consulting services to Russians, and sanctioned executives from Gazprombank. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a surprise visit to Ukraine, touring the northern town of Irpin, which had been heavily damaged by Russia’s attempt to take the capital of Kyiv at the start of the war. 

The mayor on Sunday posted images of Trudeau on social media, saying that the Canadian leader was shocked by the damage he saw at civilian homes.

Trudeau’s office later said ‘the prime minister is in Ukraine to meet with President Zelensky and reaffirm Canada’s unwavering support for the Ukrainian people.’

Jill Biden also made an unannounced visit on Sunday, holding a surprise Mother’s Day meeting in western Ukraine with first lady Olena Zelenska. 

Biden travelled under the cloak of secrecy, becoming the latest high-profile American to enter Ukraine during its 10-week-old war with Russia.

‘I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,’ the U.S. first lady told Zelenska. 

‘I thought it was important to show the Ukrainian people that this war has to stop and this war has been brutal and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.’

Pictured: Buildings destroyed by shelling stand in Seversk, eastern Ukraine on May 8, 2022, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine

The G7 leaders condemned Russia’s ‘indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, which has resulted in terrible humanitarian catastrophe in the heart of Europe’

Marking Victory in Europe Day, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a televised address that Sunday was ‘a May 8th like no other.’

He said Germany has worked hard to own up to its actions during World War II, reconciling with both Russia and Ukraine and committing itself to the concept of ‘never again.’ 

But Russia’s ‘barbaric’ invasion of Ukraine in February has brought war back to Europe, Scholz said, a prospect that once seemed unthinkable.

Scholz also spoke about Germany’s efforts to support Ukraine since the invasion, including sending heavy weapons.

‘We support Ukraine in the fight against the aggressor,’ he said. ‘Not doing so would mean capitulating to sheer violence – and empowering the aggressor.’

He said he understood some Germans’ concerns that the war could spread further west, but that while their fears are valid, ‘fear must not paralyze us.’

‘I’m deeply convinced: (Russian President Vladimir) Putin will not win this war. Ukraine will survive,’ he said. ‘Freedom and security will prevail – just as freedom and security triumphed over lack of freedom, violence and dictatorship 77 years ago.’

German Bundestag President Barbel Bas, the second highest-ranking German official after the president, met Sunday with Zelenskyy in Kyiv and attended a memorial event honoring the anniversary of the end of World War II. 

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is also expected to visit in the coming days.

‘We really appreciate that on the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation itself, and in what for us is such a trying time of war, the President of the German Bundestag Barbel Bas came to support Ukraine,’ said a post published Sunday on Zelensky’s Telegram channel.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal posted a photo of himself shaking hands with Bas on Twitter. He wrote that Ukraine is counting on Germany’s support to recover Ukraine and join the European Union’s 27 nations.

Croatia’s prime minister was also in Ukraine on Sunday following reports that a Croatian citizen fighting in Mariupol was captured by Russian forces. 

The Croatian government said the visit by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic presented ‘an expression of solidarity and support’ with the Ukrainian leadership and the people. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pays surprise visit to Kyiv on same day as Jill Biden and U2 make unannounced visits to war-torn Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz during a video call with fellow G7 leaders, in Berlin, May 8

The video conference came after one of Vladimir Putin’s closest cronies claimed Russia could destroy all NATO countries ‘in half a hour’.

Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Kremlin’s space agency, Roscosmos, also admitted the strongman’s aim is to defeat the ‘enemy’ West and expunge Ukraine from the map.

‘NATO is waging a war against us,’ said the former deputy premier of the 30-state Western military alliance. They didn’t announce it, but that doesn’t change anything. Now it’s obvious to everyone.’

The hardliner, 58, said: ‘In a nuclear war, NATO countries will be destroyed by us in half an hour.

‘But we must not allow it, because the consequences of the exchange of nuclear strikes will affect the state of our Earth.

‘Therefore, we will have to defeat this economically and militarily more powerful enemy with conventional armed means.’

He hinted that Putin would put Russia on a war footing amid speculation that a mass mobilisation is on the cards to bolster his flagging war effort.

‘Such a victory is possible with the full solidarity of the whole country with the army, the mobilisation of the state economy.’

Industry must be immediately forced to serve military objectives, he said. ‘This must be done immediately and quickly.’

Rogozin’s statements came as the final dress rehearsal for tomorrow’s Victory Day parade in Moscow saw nuclear weapons wheeled through the Red Square just metres away from the Kremlin. 

Source: Read Full Article