Leaders of the Group of 7 pledged during a virtual meeting on Sunday with President Volodymyr Zelensky to ban or phase out Russian oil, with the aim of further eroding Russia’s economic position as it continues 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 a way that gives the world time to secure alternative supplies”.
The oil ban is a double-edged sword. Oil is one of Russia’s main exports, and Moscow would almost certainly take a major economic hit if it were banned, but parts of Europe are heavily dependent on its oil and therefore vulnerable as well.
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 receives about a quarter of its crude oil imports from Russia, 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 has set plans to progressively become independent of it.
The G7 also said it would take steps to stop providing essential services on which Russia depends and tighten sanctions against financial elites who support President Vladimir V. Putin as well as his family members.
The White House also announced new sanctions on Sunday against three Russian state television stations 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 world’s biggest economies, 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. to Ukraine, which helped the country thwart Russian forces.
During Sunday’s meeting, Zelensky defended Ukraine’s case with world leaders, saying his ultimate goal was to force a full withdrawal of the Russian army.
The G7, in its statement, said member countries assured Zelensky of their “continued readiness to make new commitments to help Ukraine secure its free and democratic future.”
The call came on the day G7 leaders commemorate the end of World War II and as Russia prepared for its 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 this to the memory of all those who fought for freedom in World War II.”
Putin’s actions, he said, “shame Russia and the historic sacrifices of its people.”
Ahead of the call, the UK said it would offer a further 1.3 billion pounds (about $1.6 billion) in military aid and support to Ukraine. The new funding almost doubles the current £1.5bn in support.