Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed G7 leaders virtually at their summit in Germany on Monday as they discussed the threat to global stability posed by Russia’s invasion of his country.
The leaders met in a bright and beautiful meeting room in Schloss Elmau, Germany, a veritable mountaintop castle surrounded by blooming meadows and stunning vistas.
Zelenskyy appeared on a small monitor looking down on the group, stone-faced, in front of a grey background.
The conflict has been a running theme through Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s meetings with world leaders in Germany, as well as last week at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda.
Trudeau spoke to Zelenskyy on the first day of the G7 summit to inquire what he needs from the leaders. According to Zelenskyy’s Twitter account, the two spoke about increasing defence support for the embattled country.
The heads of the world’s most developed economies dedicated their first session of the day to discussing the war and listening to Zelenskyy’s pleas for more aid.
Before the meeting, Trudeau and summit host Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke during a walk from the manor building, or schloss in German, down to one of the meadows, nestled between the building and the mountain view.
“We are … cautious that we will help the Ukraine as much as is possible, but that we also avoid that there will be a big conflict between Russia and NATO,” Scholz told the media during a photo op with Trudeau.
The night before in Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv, weeks of general calm were shattered by Russian missile strikes. The missiles hit a kindergarten and a residential building, killing one man and injuring a woman and child, the city’s mayor said.
While G7 leaders have been united in their condemnation of Russia, they are also expected to meet with Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, who has been invited to the summit but who also tightened economic and diplomatic ties with Russia in recent months.
Trudeau will meet with Modi one-on-one in a private meeting as well.
On Sunday, the United Kingdom announced new sanctions against Russia which would ban the import of Russian gold, the country’s biggest non-energy export.
The U.K. government says the same will apply to Canada, the United States and Japan, which, as a combined effort, would shut Russia out of formal markets. The idea is to “ratchet up pressure on Russia’s war machine,” squeezing the country out of funds to finance the conflict.
Russia was poised to default on its foreign debt for the first time since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution on Sunday, further alienating the country from the global financial system.
Russia calls any default artificial because it has the money to pay its debts but says sanctions have frozen its foreign currency reserves held abroad.
—Laura Osman, The Canadian Press