Italy Calls G7 Leaders' Meeting on Ukraine, More Sanctions Expected

The Italian G7 presidency has announced a videoconference of G7 leaders this Saturday. The focus will be on Ukraine, with the expectation of increased sanctions against Russia.

This meeting, which will include President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, marks the first gathering of G7 heads of state and government under the Italian presidency.

The Italian government released a statement citing the meeting's timing as the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The statement comes as Kyiv acknowledges severe difficulties for its forces due to shortages of ammunition and delays in US aid.

Italian diplomatic sources expect a joint declaration on Ukraine at the conclusion of the afternoon meeting, anticipated to last approximately 90 minutes. Participants are likely to agree on a strengthening of sanctions. "The EU will launch a new package of sanctions, and the United States will also approve a tightening of their sanctions," sources added.

Italy's Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani, confirmed this outlook: "The sanctions can be tightened," he told public broadcaster Rai2. "Russia is feeling the full weight of the economic sanctions," he added.

Ukraine reported numerous Russian attacks on its eastern and southern fronts on Tuesday. This follows Moscow forces capturing the city of Avdiivka, in the Donetsk region, on Saturday, just before the war's second-year anniversary on February 24th.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal remains optimistic about crucial, but Congress-delayed, American aid: "I believe that the United States will support Ukraine, as well as the European Union, as well as Japan, as well as all the G7 countries, the IMF and all international financial organisations," he said at a press conference in Japan.

In July 2023, the G7 committed to providing security assistance to Ukraine. Kiev has since signed agreements with London, Germany, and France, with 25 other nations, including Poland, supporting the initiative.

These security agreements could potentially include supplying NATO-compatible military equipment, Ukrainian forces training, and bolstering Ukraine's defence industry.

Translation by Iurie Tataru

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