President Joe Biden has praised the continued unity of the alliance confronting Russia as he and other heads of the G7 nations discussed efforts on sustaining the pressure in their effort to isolate Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.
Mr Biden and his counterparts were meeting to discuss how to secure energy supplies and tackle inflation, aiming to keep fallout from the war from splintering the global coalition working to punish Moscow.
They were set to announce new bans on imports of Russian gold, the latest in a series of sanctions the G7 hopes will further isolate Russia economically over its invasion of Ukraine.
Leaders also were coming together in a new global infrastructure partnership meant to provide an alternative to Russian and Chinese investment in the developing world.
“We’ve got to make sure we have us all staying together,” Mr Biden said during a pre-summit sit-down with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who holds the G7′s rotating presidency and is hosting the gathering.
“You know, we’re gonna continue working on economic challenges that we face but I think we get through all this.”
Mr Scholz said the “good message” is that “we all made it to stay united, which Putin never expected,” a reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who sent his military across the border into Ukraine in late February.
“We have to stay together, because Putin has been counting on, from the beginning, that somehow Nato and the G7 would splinter, but we haven’t and we’re not going to,” Mr Biden replied.
He added: “We can’t let this aggression take the form it has and get away with it.”
Hours before the summit formally opened in Bavaria, Russia launched missile strikes against the Ukrainian capital on Sunday, striking at least two residential buildings, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said. They were the first such strikes by Russia in three weeks.
Mr Biden condemned Russia’s actions as “more of their barbarism”.
Other leaders echoed Mr Biden’s praise of coalition unity.
The head of the European Union’s council of governments said the 27-member bloc maintains “unwavering unity” in backing Ukraine against Russia’s invasion with money and political support, but that “Ukraine needs more and we are committed to providing more”.
European Council President Charles Michel said EU governments were ready to supply “more military support, more financial means and more political support” to enable Ukraine to defend itself and “curb Russia’s ability to wage war”.
The EU has imposed six rounds of sanctions against Russia, the latest one being a ban on 90% of Russian crude oil imports by the end of the year. The measure is aimed at a pillar of the Kremlin’s finances, its oil and gas revenues.
Mr Biden and the leaders of the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan, plus the EU, were spending Sunday in both formal and informal settings, including working sessions on the war’s effects on the global economy, including inflation, and on infrastructure.
The US president said G7 nations, including the United States, will ban imports of gold from Russia. A formal announcement was expected on Tuesday as the leaders hold their annual summit.
Senior Biden administration officials said gold is Moscow’s second biggest export after energy and that banning such imports would make it more difficult for Russia to participate in global markets.
Among other issues to be discussed are price caps on energy, which are meant to limit Russian oil and gas profits that Moscow can pump into its war effort.
Mr Michel said price caps on Russian oil imports were under discussion. But he said “we want to go into the details, we want to fine-tune … to make sure we have a clear understanding of what are the direct effects” if such a step were to be taken by the group.
Leaders were also set to discuss how to maintain commitments addressing climate change while also solving critical energy supply needs brought on by the war.
After the summit concludes on Tuesday, Mr Biden will travel to Madrid for a summit of the leaders of the 30 members of Nato to align strategy on the war in Ukraine.