‘We have to stay together’: Biden kicks off his first day at G7 meeting by praising German chancellor and promising that Vladimir Putin will not divide leaders as they keep pressure on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine
- Biden kicked off his first day at G7 meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
- His message was one of unity, particularly on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
- ‘We have to stay together,’ Biden said
- Biden will spend day formally and informally meeting with leaders Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the European Union
- Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will top the list of agenda items
- Fallout from the invasion – including high gas prices, food insecurity and inflation – will also be on the agenda
‘Thank you thank you… we have to stay together,’ he told Olaf Scholz as they looked out at the stunning mountain view at Schloss Elmau, the grand setting for the summit.
‘Because Putin is counting on from the beginning that NATO and the G7 would splinter. But we haven’t and we’re not going to.’
Russia and Ukraine will dominate the summit, as G7 leaders assess how well sanctions are working. They will also discuss the world’s worsening economic climate.
The timing of the summit could not be more timely with Ukrainian forces losing ground in the east of the country, and rockets falling on the capital Kyiv for the first time in three weeks.
Scholz was waiting for Biden at a pavilion with panoramic Alpine views when Biden arrived on the decking.
The two leaders took a moment to soak up the setting before sitting down to discuss the day’s agenda.
‘Don’t jump,’ Biden joked to Scholz when he saw him standing at the scenic deck overlook, the mountains visible in the distance.
He removed his signature aviator sunglasses and shook Scholz hand, telling him ‘good to see you.’
President Joe Biden started his first day at the G7 meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
They began by admiring the stunning Alpine views at the Schloss Elmau venue for the G7 venue in Germany
President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stressed staying together on Russia’s war against Ukraine
‘I used to ski too I haven’t skied in a while,’ continued Biden. ‘It’s beautiful.’
Then it was down to business.
The president will spend the day in formal and informal meeting with the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the European Union.
Russia and its war in the Ukraine will ‘be at the top of the list’ of agenda items, a senior administration official said of the day.
‘We’re going to continue working on the economic challenges we face,’ Biden said.
As the G7 leaders gathered in Germany, Russia ramped up its attacks in the Ukraine. Russian forces attacked the capital of Kyiv for the first time in weeks, striking at least two residential buildings.
The fallout from the invasion will on the agenda. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky will virtually address the G7 on Monday.
The first formal session for the leaders of the world’s seven largest economies will be the economy and the high food and gas prices that have resulted from both the invasion of the Ukraine and the world emerging from the covid pandemic.
Like the United States, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom are battling record-high inflation.
‘The disruptions generally that are emanating from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, even as the leaders, including President Biden will be focused on the challenge and the challenges and disruptions of the moment,’ a senior administration official said on Sunday morning.
Biden will also spend his time at the G7 – and at the NATO summit later this week – holding together the Western allies on Russian sanctions.
The U.S., UK, Canada and Japan are implementing a new round of punishments on Russia President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to isolate him financially.
The countries are banning the import of Russian gold, which, after oil, is its biggest revenue generator.
‘The United States has imposed unprecedented costs on Putin to deny him the revenue he needs to fund his war against Ukraine,’ Biden wrote on Twitter.
‘Together, the G7 will announce that we will ban the import of Russian gold, a major export that rakes in tens of billions of dollars for Russia.’
The West has already imposed a series of sanctions on Russian oil, luxury goods and other items.
But questions remain as the effectiveness of those financial punishments.
‘The short-term financial impact of the sanctions on Russia’s economy has been substantial but appears to have dissipated since May,’ the Center for Strategic and International Studies reported this month.
And Russian oil, the nation’s biggest source of income, is still being purchased – China and India are picking up the slack left when the U.S. and allies started to ban Russian oil.
While oil sales are down, prices are up, helping generate billions for Putin’s war.
Russia is still raking in $1 billion a day from its oil supply, the Center for Research on Energy and Clear Air found.
The Biden administration argues the sanctions are working.
Biden and Scholz met hours after missiles hit Kyiv for the first time in weeks. Rescue workers can be seen here evacuating a person from a residential building damaged by a strike which Kyiv major Vitali Klitshko says has injured many
Fourteen cruise missile strikes reverberated around the city and its surroundings at approximately 6.30am this Sunday morning, shattering the fragile peace and tranquillity the city had been enjoying since Putin’s forces moved out of the north of Ukraine
‘The US has rallied the world and imposing swift and significant economic costs. It will deny Putin revenue he needs to finance his war. In this case, gold after energy is the second largest export for Russia and a source of significant revenue for for Putin and Russia,’ a senior administration official said.
The official went on to say the effect of the sanctions ‘is intended to be cumulative, not just in the moment, and we’re already seeing the extent to which sanctions are degrading the productive capacity of the Russian economy, particularly in sectors like technology, like defense, like other key important industries, and those impacts only accumulate over time such that Russia’s ability to wage war are going to decline over time as a result of the collective steps that the G7 has taken.’
Biden’s day will be spent in meetings, including lunches and dinners with G7 leaders. He’ll also participate in an official welcome ceremony and take a family photo.
The president arrived in Germany on a Saturday night to a red carpet welcome – complete with flags flying and a band playing. A large group of people in traditional Bavarian dress greeted him, along with Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soder.
Two children, also in traditional dress, gave hm a bouquet of flowers.
Biden also signed the Golden Book of the Bavarian state government.