Ukraine-Russia war: G7 countries will back Kyiv ‘for as long as it takes’

Leaders of the G7 group of rich nations have said they will back Ukraine for “as long as it takes” in the wake of Monday’s major Russian missile strikes.

The group, which met for emergency virtual talks, said it would keep on giving military and humanitarian aid.

Nato also said it would stand with Ukraine for as long as necessary.

At least 19 people were killed and scores more injured, as Russian missiles hit regions across Ukraine, including central Kyiv.

Strikes continued into Tuesday, with civilians advised to stay in air raid shelters.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the attacks were in retaliation for a strike on a key bridge linking Russia with occupied Crimea, for which he blamed Ukraine.

Western leaders were quick to condemn the Russian escalation, and the G7 on Tuesday reiterated its commitment to Ukraine.

“We will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military, diplomatic and legal support and will stand firmly with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” the group said in a statement.

The bloc also condemned Mr Putin’s recent attempts to annex four regions of Ukraine with self-styled referendums.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked the G7 for further air defence capabilities.

He also asked the alliance to support an international mission on the Ukraine-Belarus border.

Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko – a close ally of Mr Putin – has agreed to deploy forces with Russian soldiers at the border with Ukraine, saying this is in response to a threat from Kyiv.

On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden said he believed President Putin is a “rational actor” who misjudged his ability to successfully invade Ukraine.

“I think he thought he’d be welcomed with open arms – that this was the home of mother Russia in Kyiv and he was going to be welcomed – and I think he totally miscalculated,” Biden told CNN.

Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the G7 by video call.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
Image caption,

Volodymyr Zelensky addressing a G7 video call, chaired by Germany

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the military bloc would also continue to stand by Ukraine.

In a press conference, Mr Stoltenberg suggested that Nato needed to produce more weapons, as supplies have run low due to the war. Nato is in discussions with member nations and defence companies, he said.

Following indirect threats from Mr Putin, Mr Stoltenberg said the alliance was closely monitoring Russia’s nuclear forces, but had not seen any changes in their posture.

He added that any attack on infrastructure critical to Nato would trigger a “united and determined response”. It comes two weeks after a series of attacks on the Nord Stream gas pipelines, which many Western leaders indirectly suggested may have been caused by Russia.

In its statement the G7 said is was “deeply troubled” by these attacks, and welcomed further investigation into what caused them.

The G7 is made up of the seven largest “advanced” economies.

It includes Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US.

China is not included as it is not considered an advanced economy in the way the other nations are. Russia was part of the group, but was excluded after its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

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