LONDON (AP) — Leaders of the Group of Seven’s developed democracies pledged Sunday to eliminate or ban the import of Russian oil, as they met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for online talks to stress their support and to show unity among Western allies on Victory in Europe Day, which marks the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945.
Cutting off Russian oil supplies will ‘hit the main artery of (President Vladimir) Putin’s economy hard and deny him the revenue he needs to fund his war’, the G-7 nations, which include states United States, Britain, Canada, Germany, France and Italy and Japan, said in a statement.
“We will ensure that we do this in a timely and orderly manner, and in a way that gives the world time to secure alternative supplies,” they added.
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Looking back on World War II, the leaders stressed unity in their resolve that Putin must not win.
“We owe it to the memory of all who fought for freedom in World War II to continue to fight for it today, for the people of Ukraine, Europe and the global community,” they said.
US President Joe Biden’s call with G7 leaders and Zelenskyy lasted about an hour.
The United States also announced new sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. These include cutting Western advertising from Russia’s three largest television channels, banning US accounting and consulting firms from providing services to any Russian, and imposing additional restrictions on Russia’s industrial sector, including to cut off Moscow from wood products, industrial engines, boilers, bulldozers and Suite.
The White House announced the new sanctions ahead of VE Day on May 9, when Russia traditionally celebrates the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 with huge military parades.
Putin is expected to talk about what he calls his special military operation in Ukraine and address troops in Red Square on Monday.
American and European allies sought to deliver a counter-message that Putin is further isolating Russia from the rest of the world and hurting Russia’s economy immensely.
The new round of US sanctions will hit three of the most popular Russian TV channels in Russia – Channel One Russia, Russia-1 and NTV – which the US says have been at the forefront of broadcasting fake information about the prosecution of the invasion by Russia.
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The Biden administration says new sanctions barring U.S. accounting and consulting firms from doing business in Russia will help prevent Russian corporations and elites from getting help to hide their wealth and escape an avalanche of sanctions that have already been adopted.
The United States also said it imposed some 2,600 visa restrictions on Russian and Belarusian officials and issued a new visa restriction policy that applies to Russian officials and military authorities.
The United States has sanctioned 27 executives of Gazprombank, a bank that facilitates sales of Russia’s Gazprom, one of the world’s largest natural gas exporters, to Europe. The sanctions are the first time the United States has hit the bank that plays a vital role in Russia’s massive gas exports, but the move stalled long before the full lockdown sanctions the United States slapped. other major Russian banks.
Ahead of the call, British officials said Britain would provide an additional 1.3 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) in military support to Ukraine to help the country defend against Russian forces.
The funding, which comes from UK government reserves, includes £300m of military equipment pledged by Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this week, such as radar systems to target Russian artillery, GPS jamming equipment and night vision devices.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid a surprise visit to Ukraine on Sunday, visiting the northern town of Irpin, which had been heavily damaged by Russia’s attempt to take the capital of kyiv at the start of the war . The mayor posted images of Trudeau on social media on Sunday, saying the Canadian leader was shocked by the damage he had seen in civilian homes.
Trudeau’s office later said that “the prime minister is in Ukraine to meet with President Zelenskyy and reaffirm Canada’s unwavering support for the people of Ukraine.”
Jill Biden also made an unannounced visit on Sunday, arranging a surprise Mother’s Day reunion in western Ukraine with First Lady Olena Zelenska. Biden traveled under the cloak of secrecy, becoming the last high-profile American to enter Ukraine during his 10-week war with Russia.
“I wanted to come on Mother’s Day,” the US first lady told Zelenska. “I thought it was important to show the people of Ukraine that this war must end and that this war has been brutal and that the people of the United States stand with the people of Ukraine.”
In Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a televised address that Sunday was “a May 8 like no other”.
He said Germany had worked hard to come to terms with its actions during World War II, reconciling with Russia and Ukraine and committing to the concept of “never again”. But Russia’s “barbaric” invasion of Ukraine in February brought war back to Europe, Scholz said, a prospect that once seemed unthinkable.
“Freedom and security will prevail – just as freedom and security triumphed over unfreedom, violence and dictatorship 77 years ago,” Scholz said in his speech.
German Bundestag President Bärbel Bas, Germany’s second-highest ranking official after the president, met with Zelenskyy in kyiv on Sunday and attended a commemorative event in honor of the anniversary of the end of World War II.
“We really appreciate that on the day of remembrance and reconciliation itself, and in what is such a trying time of war for us, the President of the German Bundestag Bärbel Bas came to support Ukraine,” a message said. posted on Zelenskyy’s Telegram channel on Sunday. .
Madhani reported from Wilmington, Delaware. Emily Schultheis in Berlin contributed to this report.