The leaders of the world’s leading democratic economies arrived in Germany on Sunday, starting a week of meetings where they will be under intense pressure to do more for Ukraine in its war with Russia and stick together.
The G-7 leaders’ meeting at Elmau Castle in the Bavarian Alps will be immediately followed by a NATO meeting in Madrid on Wednesday, at which the Western military alliance is expected to sign an increased presence in the country’s east. Europe to deter further potential aggression from Moscow.
The effects of the Russian invasion of the neighboring country on February 24 reverberated throughout the global economy, causing food and fuel prices to rise and, most importantly, inflation.
The G7 strategy relied heavily on sanctions aimed at punishing the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but rather than cripple the Kremlin war machine, the effect was largely offset by China and India, who picked up the slack and became buy more Russian oil.
Both India and South Africa were invited to oversee the G7 meeting. The leaders of both countries missed the Commonwealth summit this week.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had already spoken to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and expected the message to be delivered loud and clear to both countries.
“If Putin continues to believe that he can act with impunity — and not only cause terrible damage and loss of life in Ukraine, but directly cause loss of life and opportunity for people around the world — the world must continue to oppose him,” he said. he. he said on Saturday after a meeting of Commonwealth leaders in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital.
As the G7 meeting opened, Russian rockets rained down on the capital Kyiv, hitting at least two residential buildings, according to the city’s mayor – attacks many military analysts interpret as Moscow’s signal to G7 leaders.
Trudeau had a one-on-one meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday.
“There is a lot of hard work to be done on climate change, on Ukraine and on developing the economy,” Trudeau said.
For his part, Johnson suggested that the leaders would need to discuss the pressures they each face at home and how that affects what happens on the international stage.
“We’re going to talk about the topics Justin mentioned,” Boris said, “but also what’s so reassuring about this whole crisis is how the G7 has been brought together.”
In a separate interview with Reuters, Johnson elaborated on the issue, saying he believes “there is pressure and anxiety” to stay united.
“NATO has been tough, the G7 has been tough, and we continue to be tough,” he said, “but in order to defend that unity, to make it work, you have to have very, very honest discussions about the implications of what is happening.” , the pressures experienced by individual friends and partners and the population, whether it be the cost of their energy, food or anything else.
Food security was a problem even before the war
One of the most pressing issues on the G7 agenda is addressing the growing food shortage caused by the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports and the bombing of grain terminals. Up to 500,000 metric tons of grain have been stuck in Ukraine this year, pushing up global food prices.
Caitlin Welsh, director of the Global Food Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC, said there are already concerns about food security in the wake of COVID-19.
“It’s important to remember that before the war, we were witnessing perhaps the highest level of food insecurity in the world,” she said in a recent conference call briefing.
The host country, Germany, was preoccupied with the growing crisis long before the pandemic and the war. The last time she presided over the G7, she convinced other countries to commit to ending 500 million people in developing countries from hunger and malnutrition by 2030.
During their time at the Commonwealth summit, Canadian officials have repeatedly hinted that Canada’s experience in storing grain on the prairies could be useful to Ukraine.
They suggested they might say more in the coming days.