Leaders of the Group of 7 Nations pledged on Sunday during a virtual meeting with President Volodymyr Zelensky to ban or phase out Russian oil, with the aim of further eroding Russia’s economic position as it pursues its invasion of Ukraine.
The group did not provide details, but said in a statement that the plans would be implemented “in a timely and orderly manner and in ways that would provide the world with time to secure alternative supplies.”
Oil bans are a double-edged sword. Oil is a major export for Russia and Moscow would almost certainly take a big economic blow if it were banned, but parts of Europe are heavily dependent on its oil and therefore are also vulnerable.
The United States, which imported a relatively small amount of energy resources from Russia, has already banned the import of Russian oil and gas.
The European Union, which gets about a quarter of its crude oil imports from Russia, has also announced plans to phase out Russian oil, but is still in talks to formalize the decision. The bloc is too dependent on Russian gas to consider banning it in the short term, but it plans to progressively become independent of it.
The G7 also said it will take steps to halt the supply of key services on which Russia depends and to tighten sanctions against financial elites who support President Vladimir V. Putin, as well as their family members.
The White House also announced new sanctions on Sunday against three Russian state televisions and said it would ban Americans from providing accounting or consulting services to anyone in Russia.
The Group of 7, which includes some of the largest economies in the world, said member countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States – will also continue to provide billions of dollars in military aid and intelligence in Ukraine, which helped the country counter Russian forces.
During Sunday’s meeting, Mr. Zelensky pleaded Ukraine’s cause with world leaders, saying his ultimate goal was to force the full withdrawal of the Russian army.
The G7, in its statement, said member countries assured Zelensky of their “continued readiness to undertake further commitments to help Ukraine secure its free and democratic future”.
The appeal came on the day G7 leaders commemorate the end of World War II and as Russia prepared for the annual celebration of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in 1945.
“We remain united in our determination that President Putin must not win his war against Ukraine,” the G7 statement said. “We owe it to the memory of all those who fought for freedom in World War II.”
Putin’s actions, he said, “bring shame to Russia and the historic sacrifices of its people.”
Prior to the appeal, the UK said it would offer an additional £ 1.3 billion (around US $ 1.6 billion) in military aid and support to Ukraine. The new funding almost doubles the current £ 1.5 billion in support.