Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday met virtually with leaders from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations, telling them that Moscow is counting on Western unity to “collapse” next year.
Attendees, including Kyiv’s key allies such as U.S. President Joe Biden and U.K. leader Rishi Sunak, said they remained committed to supporting Ukraine. Their comments came amid fears that Western support for Ukraine could wane as Kyiv makes limited progress on the battlefield.
“We are determined to support an independent, democratic Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders,” leaders of the G7 said in a statement after the meeting.
The leaders announced actions to be taken against Russia, including banning imports of nonindustrial diamonds from Russia by January, and Russian diamonds processed by third countries by March, in an effort to decrease Russian revenue.
The G7 announced additional measures, including increased enforcement of a price cap on Russian oil, and called on all third parties to immediately stop providing Russia with military materials or face a “severe cost.”
The leaders also committed to increasing humanitarian efforts for Ukraine as winter approaches, calling on Russia to end its aggression and pay for the damage it has already done.
As Zelenskyy met with G7 leaders, Russian President Vladimir Putin took a rare trip abroad — a one-day visit to the Middle East with stops in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia — to try to increase Russia’s standing in the region.
The UAE, host country of COP28, the U.N. climate summit, is a U.S. ally with close ties to Russia. UAE officials greeted Putin warmly in Abu Dhabi.
Putin also met with UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, discussing many topics, including what he called the “Ukrainian crisis,” before continuing on to talks with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Those talks were also expected to include Ukraine.
Ukrainians in the UAE for COP28 condemned Putin’s visit to the region, citing environmental crimes Russia has committed in their country.
“It is extremely upsetting to see how the world treats war criminals, because that’s what he is, in my opinion,” said Marharyta Bohdanova, a worker at the Ukrainian pavilion at the COP28 climate summit. “Seeing how people let people like him in the big events … treating him like a dear guest, is just so hypocritical, in my opinion.”
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.