The ongoing war in Ukraine will turn from a distant conflict into something more tangible for the leaders of the world’s seven richest democracies on Monday following a speech by the warring country’s president.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he was going to tell G7 leaders that despite their efforts to arm his country and isolate Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime, more needs to be done – and fast.
Even though the allies quickly imposed an unprecedented set of sanctions, Russia’s economy has proven resilient, mainly because countries — including India — stepped up to buy discounted oil from Moscow.
“This confirms that sanctions packages against Russia are not enough, that Ukraine needs more armed assistance, and that air defense systems – modern systems that our partners have – should not be in training grounds or warehouses, but in Ukraine, where they are located. we need it now,” Zelensky said in an address to his people on Sunday.
One of those listening to him on the sidelines of the G7 on Monday will be Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, one of the world leaders who has not spoken out strongly about the invasion.
Modern weapons, Zelensky said, Ukraine needs more than anywhere else in the world.
Ukraine has received several rocket launchers from the US and the UK, and Germany has promised to provide additional systems.
He has fielded 155mm towed howitzers from the US, Canada and other allies, but Ukrainian military officials and some in Zelenskiy’s office are asking for more and better systems, including 500 tanks.
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Trudeau and Zelensky performed on Sunday
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had what was described as impromptu Sunday with Zelensky ahead of a speech by the Ukrainian leader about “increasing pressure on Russia,” according to a transcript of the conversation provided by senior officials.
Trudeau told Zelensky about the discussions that took place at the Commonwealth summit late last week, where Canada and Britain were trying to convince reluctant members of the organization, mostly from former British colonies, to more firmly support Ukraine and condemn Russia.
The Commonwealth’s final communiqué did not contain a strong condemnation of Moscow’s invasion, although it did “note” the March United Nations resolution that held Russia to account.
Zelenskiy also tweeted about the phone call and said they talked about further military cooperation.
The war in Ukraine has taken a lot of political oxygen and time from the leaders of the G7, who at times seemed to be struggling to draw attention to other initiatives.
On Sunday, the US launched a multibillion-dollar program known as the Global Infrastructure Partnership to help low-income countries build roads, bridges and airports to improve their economies. It is designed to compete with the so-called Chinese Belt and Road Initiative.
Its supporters say Beijing’s massive investment in infrastructure could usher in a new era of trade and growth for economies in Asia and beyond. But skeptics believe China is setting a debt trap for borrowing governments.
“Let communities around the world see for themselves and see the concrete benefits of partnering with democracies,” US President Joe Biden said after the plan was announced.
“Because when democracies demonstrate what we can do, everything we can offer, I have no doubt that we will win the competition every time.