US sends anti-air system to Ukraine, G-7 leaders commit to Ukraine

Leaders of the Group of Seven economic powers are preparing to pledge their long-term support for Ukraine, with the U.S. preparing to announce the purchase of an advanced surface-to-air missile system for Kyiv as they meet in the German Alps and confer by video link with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

G-7 leaders will discuss Ukraine at the start of their three-day summit on Monday. A discussion on climate change, energy and other issues will be held with the leaders of five democratic emerging economies – India, Indonesia, South Africa, Senegal and Argentina.

On Sunday, just as Russian missiles struck the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv for the first time in weeks, the G-7 leaders opened their summit at the secluded Schloss Elmau luxury hotel in Austria with the war in Ukraine at the top of their minds.

Putin has been counting on NATO and the G-7 to splinter from the beginning, but we haven’t and we won’t.” Boris Johnson urged the leaders not to become fatigued.

According to a person familiar with the matter, Biden is on track to announce the U.S. will provide an advanced surface-to-air missile system and additional artillery support to Ukraine, in the latest effort to help the country battle Russia’s bloody invasion.

The U.S. plans to use NASAMS, a Norwegian-developed anti-aircraft system, as medium-to-long-range defense, according to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity. NASAMS is the same system used by the U.S. to protect the airspace surrounding the White House and the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

Ukrainian artillery will receive more ammunition, as well as counter-battery radars to support its efforts against the Russians in the Donbas, the person said.

In an attempt to counter doubts about its endurance as the conflict grinds into its fifth month, Biden is using his trip to Europe to demonstrate the unity among the coalition pressing to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine as well as urging allies to do even more.

Olaf Scholz, the German Chancellor, said last week that he hoped to discuss the outline of a “Marshall plan for Ukraine” with his G-7 counterparts, referring to the U.S.-sponsored plan that helped revive European economies after World War II.

The war is still raging, and destruction is mounting by the day, so a detailed plan is unlikely at this point. Scholz has said that “rebuilding Ukraine will take generations.”

Finance ministers from the G-7 agreed last month to provide $19.8 billion in economic aid to help Kyiv keep basic services running and prevent tight finances from hindering its defense against Russian forces.

Under condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations between the G-7 leaders, a senior U.S. administration official said the United States and Europe are aligned in their aims for a negotiated settlement to the conflict, even if their roles sometimes appear to differ.

Emmanuel Macron and Scholz are trying to facilitate this through active communication with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Zelenskyy, as well as supplying Ukraine with weapons. The U.S. has largely cut off major talks with Russia and intends to bolster Ukraine’s military strength as much as possible in order to gain leverage at the negotiating table.

When winter hits, the G-7 and other leaders may need to identify ways to ease energy supply issues and skyrocketing prices, as they seek to disengage from Russian sources of fuel.

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