HomeGlobal Defence UpdatesG7 powers to boost Ukraine air defences in face of Russian strikes

G7 powers to boost Ukraine air defences in face of Russian strikes

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G7 powers are determined to bolster Ukraine’s air defences, their foreign ministers said on Friday after repeated Russian air strikes which have wrecked power infrastructure and killed hundreds.
The Group of Seven major powers — Italy, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Britain, the United States and European Union representatives — has been fiercely critical of Russia’s two-year long invasion of Ukraine.

However, Kyiv has warned they need to change strategy if they want Ukraine to withstand increasingly destructive Russian air assaults. Russia denies targeting civilians during its air strikes and says the energy system is a legitimate target, but hundreds of civilians have been killed during air strikes.

The G7 will “bolster Ukraine’s air defence capabilities to save lives and protect critical infrastructure,” the foreign ministers said, adding they would increase defence and security assistance for Kyiv.

“We are determined to continue to provide military, financial, political, humanitarian, economic, and development support to Ukraine and its people,” they added.

The G7 statement comes at the end of a three-day meeting of the ministers in the southern Italian island of Capri, which had Ukraine and military clashes between Israel and Iran among its main topics. Earlier, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba — who was in Capri for the meeting — told reporters the G7 had identified specific steps to help boost Ukraine’s air defence. He did not provide further details. Germany has already said it would hand over one Patriot missile battery.

Following the summit, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Ukraine needed more resources immediately, and warned Beijing that China’s relations with Europe would be harmed if it provided support for Russia’s defence industry.

“When it comes to Russia’s defense industrial base, the primary contributor in this moment … is China,” Blinken said.

“If China purports on the one hand to want good relations with Europe and other countries, it can’t, on the other hand, be fueling what is the biggest threat to European security since the end of the Cold War.”

FROZEN ASSETS

Military aid to Kyiv has slowed in recent months, with European partners apparently running low on ammunition and vital U.S. funding blocked by Republicans in Congress.

The U.S. House of Representatives might, however, finally get to vote on a $60.8 billion package for Kyiv this weekend.

Another key funding issue under review is how to use profits from some $300 billion of sovereign Russian assets held in the West to help Ukraine, as EU member states hesitate over concerns about the legality of such a move.

The G7 foreign ministers said that they were still looking at ways to use the frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine.

“We will continue our work and update ahead of the (G7) Apulia Summit (in June) on all possible avenues and feasible options by which immobilized Russian sovereign assets could be made use of,” the ministers said.

Italy’s Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said there was an established legal basis for using the interest from the frozen funds, but experts were now examining if the capital itself could be used.

DE-ESCALATION

The foreign ministers’ summit ended shortly after what sources described as an Israeli attack on Iran in retaliation for a recent Iranian drone and missile assault on Israel.

The G7 ministers said they would work to prevent conflict between Israel and Iran escalating.

“The political objective of the G7 is de-escalation. We have worked and continue to work to be active players in securing de-escalation throughout the Middle East,” Tajani said.

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