Biden calls for unity against Russia at the G7 summit

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President Joe Biden called for unity against Russia, as world leaders met on Sunday at a G7 summit in the Bavarian Alps that was dominated by war in Ukraine and its painful impact on food and energy supplies across the globe.

Biden told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that his leadership had been crucial in marshalling Europe’s response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“You’ve done an incredible job, and I want to thank you for it,” Biden told a beaming Scholz. “Putin’s been counting on it from the beginning, that somehow NATO and the G7 would splinter, but we haven’t and it’s not going to,” he said.

Scholz has been under fire at home for alleged dithering over what kind of weapons Europe’s richest country should send Kyiv in its fight against Russian forces in its east. Scholz has always rejected these criticisms.

“It’s a good message that we all managed to stay united, which, obviously, Putin never expected,” Scholz said.

The U.S. and German leaders discussed global food security in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and ways of addressing the challenge posed by China, the White House said in a statement.

Scholz has said that the summit’s key aim is to send the message that Western sanctions on Russia are not to blame for spiralling food prices that are causing growing hunger in the Global South.

Russia edged closer to default on Sunday amid little sign that investors holding its international bonds had received payment, heralding what would be the nation’s first default in decades.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to provide more support for Ukraine in its war with Russia, Johnson’s office said on Sunday as the leaders met on the sidelines of a Group of Seven summit.

The European Union gave a cautious response on Sunday to plans by fellow G7 members to ban imports of Russian gold, and said it needed more certainty before signing up to a U.S. initiative to cap the price of Russian oil.

European Council President Charles Michel was cautious about a plan from Britain, United States, Japan and Canada to ban imports of newly mined or refined Russian gold.

“On gold, we are ready to go more into the details and to look if it’s possible to target gold in a manner that would target the Russian economy and not in a manner that would target ourselves,” Michel, who chairs EU summits, told a news conference as G7 leaders arrived.

G7 leaders met in southern Germany for a three-day summit from Sunday designed to show their united response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine four months ago.

Balance between protecting shared values and doing business with China can be found, said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday as world leaders convened in Germany for the G7 summit.

“China is a gigantic fact of our lives. Every country gathered here today at the G7 does a huge amount of business with China. The question is can we continue to do that,” said Johnson.

He further added, “I think there is a balance to be struck. It may be difficult but that is what we have got to try and do.”