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G7 says will stand by Ukraine 'for as long as it takes', vows new sanctions on Russia

The G7 leaders are seen in a summit virtually attended by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy at Bavaria's Schloss Elmau castle, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on June 27, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

The Group of Seven (G7) countries have voiced unflinching support for Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s months-long military operation in the former Soviet state, pledging to further tighten sanctions on Moscow.

The G7 said in a statement on Monday that the inter-governmental forum would stand with Ukraine "for as long as it takes,” and promised to tighten the squeeze on Russia's finances with new sanctions that include a proposal to cap the price of Russian oil.

"We will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes," the statement said.

The G7 countries expressed readiness to provide security commitments in a post-war settlement, while stressing that it was up to Ukraine to decide a future peace deal with Russia. The G7 countries also said they were prepared to grant up to $29.5 billion for Ukraine in military aids.

The member countries of the inter-governmental forum, which generate nearly half the world's economic output, said they intended to ramp up pressure on Russia over the soaring global inflation and energy shortages fueled by Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.

The new sanctions would target Russia's revenue stream from oil and gold exports, Moscow's military production and officials installed by Moscow in areas of Ukraine captured by Russian troops.

Speaking on the sidelines of the G7 summit, a US official said Western sanctions have hit Russia's economy hard and the new measures are aimed at further depriving the Kremlin of oil revenues.

The official added that G7 countries would work with others - including India - to limit Russia’s revenues.

The announcement came after Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, addressing G7 leaders at their summit in the Bavarian Alps via a video link, called for arms supplies and air defenses to gain the upper hand in the conflict with Russia.

Since the start of Russia’s military operation on February 24, the US and its western allies have imposed unprecedented sanctions against Moscow.

More than four months after the Kremlin launched its offensive in Ukraine, Russian troops have taken control of nearly the entire Donbas region, focusing their military attention on north-eastern Ukraine.

Staring down at defeat, Western powers have ramped up their military assistance to Kiev, offering a large cache of weaponry, including advanced medium to long-range surface-to-air missile defense systems, artillery ammunition, and counter-battery radars.

Russia has repeatedly warned the West against fanning the flames of war by providing lethal weapons to Ukraine.

NATO allies to boost high readiness forces to 300,000

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday that members of the military alliance would boost high readiness forces to "well over 300,000" troops as they strengthen their defenses in response to Russia's offensive in Ukraine.

Stoltenberg said the allies would bolster some of their battle group deployments along NATO's eastern flank "up to brigade level," and increase high readiness numbers to "well over 300,000.”

"This constitutes the biggest overhaul of our collective defense and deterrence since the Cold War," the NATO chief stressed, declining to provide further details on the additional high readiness forces or how they could be deployed by the alliance.

NATO currently has a high readiness force of around 40,000 troops under its command. The more than 300,000 troops are expected to form a larger pool that the alliance could tap into in the case of an emergency.

Stoltenberg also said that leaders would agree to bolster NATO's essential support to embattled Ukraine, with a package reportedly comprising of "substantial deliveries" of gear like secure communications, anti-drone systems and fuel.

NATO leaders are scheduled to meet in the Spanish capital of Madrid this week.

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