HIROSHIMA, Japan, May 19 (Reuters) – Leaders of the world richest democracies agreed on Friday to stiffen sanctions against Russia and pledged financial support for Ukraine as its president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, prepared to join them in the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
SUPPORT FOR UKRAINE
* G7 leaders said they had ensured that Ukraine had the budget support it needs for this year and early 2024. “Today we are taking new steps to ensure that Russia’s illegal aggression against the sovereign state of Ukraine fails and to support the Ukrainian people in their quest for a just peace rooted in respect for international law,” they said in a statement.
* A French government plane is taking Zelenskiy to the Arab League Summit in Saudi Arabia and will later take him to the G7 summit in Hiroshima, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
* The United States and the rest of the G7 economies will unveil new sanctions and export controls targeting Russia over its war against Ukraine, a U.S. official said ahead of the summit.
* Ukraine wants its allies to be bolder in imposing sanctions on Russia, including by targeting banks that provide financial services to serving soldiers, a senior adviser told Reuters.
* German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said his government wanted pragmatic measures to prevent the circumvention of sanctions imposed on Russia.
* Britain published plans to ban imports of Russian diamonds, copper, aluminium and nickel and announced a new wave of sanctions against Russia, targeting companies connected to the alleged theft of Ukrainian grain.
* Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet Zelenskiy on the sidelines of the summit, broadcaster CNN-News 18 reported.
DEALING WITH CHINA
* G7 members are prepared to build “constructive and stable relations” with China while acting in their national interests, according to a draft version of their communique seen by Reuters on Friday.
* U.S. President Joe Biden met Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida after arriving in Japan and the two discussed ways to strengthen defence cooperation and counter coercive behaviour by China, the White House said in a statement.
* China is gravely concerned about recent signs of “negative” China-related moves at the G7 summit and urges Japan not to turn it into a “political show” against or to curb China, the country’s embassy in Japan said.
* The G7 must take the lead in phasing out fossil fuels, the leaders of seven countries including The Netherlands and Chile have said, attempting to build momentum for a global deal this year to gradually quit oil, coal and gas.
* The G7 believes that publicly supported investment in the gas sector can be temporarily appropriate while countries are accelerating the phasing-out of their dependency on Russia, a draft communique seen by Reuters showed.
* Japan and France said they wanted to deepen bilateral cooperation after agreeing earlier this month to accelerate discussions for a joint military exercise framework with Paris hoping to push for reciprocal access agreements.
* South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol will hold a summit with Kishida on Sunday, Yoon’s office said. The announcement comes as the two countries seek to mend diplomatic ties marred by Japan’s colonial past.
* Kishida said he expected additional investment from global chipmakers into Japan after meeting with top executives ahead of the G7 summit.