G7 countries to hit Russia with new sanctions

G7 leaders have vowed to impose new sanctions on Russia that will restrict its ability to import key technologies for its arms industry, as they promised more support for Ukraine including security commitments.

The group of seven advanced economies said they would “align and expand targeted sanctions to further restrict Russia’s access to key industrial inputs, services and technologies”.

The G7 also said it would also impose targeted sanctions on Russians responsible for war crimes committed in Ukraine and those who were increasing “global food insecurity” by “stealing and exporting Ukrainian grain”.

The G7 meeting in Germany comes as western leaders grapple with multiple crises sparked by Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, from spiralling inflation rates to energy and food supply concerns that are straining the global economy.

The pledges of support to Kyiv came as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned the G7 leaders that Russia aims to consolidate its position in Ukraine and will launch a renewed offensive this winter, as he reiterated his calls for fresh deliveries of weaponry.

Zelenskyy told the leaders via video link that he believed the Russians want to extend the war until this winter, when they could make new territorial gains, according to people briefed on the meeting.

Nato officials expect Russia to pause its offensive at some point in the coming months to regroup and replenish its military for a fresh offensive. The tactic would echo Moscow’s April retreat from a failed assault on Kyiv only to redeploy those troops and equipment to eastern Ukraine.

The G7 countries said they reaffirmed their “unwavering commitment to support the government and people of Ukraine” in their war against Russia and promised to “stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes”. 

They also said they were prepared to offer Ukraine “sustained security commitments” to help it “defend itself, secure its free and democratic future and deter future Russian aggression”.

Western leaders have in recent weeks stepped up their warnings that allies of Ukraine should prepare to sustain their support to the country.

As part of efforts to provide long-term military support to Kyiv, US president Joe Biden is set to announce this week that the United States will purchase a NASAMS advanced medium-to long-range surface-to-air missile system for Ukraine, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Other security assistance from the US likely to be announced this week includes additional artillery ammunition and counter-battery radars.

Western support for Ukraine has adjusted as the war has shifted. In the opening weeks, initial supplies of portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles were key to blunting the initial Russian blitz assault. In recent months more long-range, heavy weapons have been used to counter Russia’s more attritional strategy in the east of Ukraine.

Zelenskyy has warned that without more and faster supplies of western weapons Ukraine will not be able to launch counter-attacks in the east to recapture territory lost to Russia in recent weeks.

“[G7] leaders will make long-term commitments to provide security, as well as financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support to Ukraine,” Andriy Yermak, Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, said in a post on social media on Monday.

The meeting with Zelenskyy came as the G7 discusses new penalties on Russia including a proposed cap on the oil price, as well as sanctions on gold exports.

The G7 leaders will today meet other countries including India, South Africa and Indonesia to discuss the wider impact of the war in Ukraine, including interruptions in grain deliveries and soaring energy prices.

Additional reporting by Roman Olearchyk in Kyiv

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