G7 leaders agree on US$50B loan for Ukraine using frozen Russian assets

A Group of Seven summit opened Thursday with agreement reached on a U.S. proposal to back a US$50 billion loan to Ukraine using frozen Russian assets as collateral, giving Kyiv a strong show of support even as Europe’s political chessboard shifts to the right.

Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni welcomed the G7 heads of state to the summit at a luxury resort in southern Italy, saying she wanted the message of this meeting to be one of dialogue with the global south and unity.

She likened the G7 to the ancient olive trees that are a symbol of the Puglia region, “with their solid roots, and branches projected toward the future.”Beyond the the war in Ukraine, Pope Francis will become the first pope to address a G7 summit, adding a dash of celebrity and moral authority to the annual gathering. He’ll be speaking Friday about the promises and perils of artificial intelligence, but is expected to also renew his appeal for a peaceful end to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza.

The G7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Italy, which is hosting the summit, has invited several African leaders — Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Kenyan President William Ruto and Tunisian President Kais Saied — to press Italy’s development and migration initiatives on the continent.

Other guests include Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fresh off his own election, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

With Biden, U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and now French President Emmanuel Macron facing elections in the coming months, pressure was on the G7 to get done what it can while the status quo lasts.Leaders of the G7 countries have agreed to engineer a US$50-billion loan to help Ukraine in its fight for survival that would use interest earned on profits from Russia’s frozen central bank assets as collateral.

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