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The backstory: For those who haven’t been keeping track, don’t worry; we have you covered. Essentially, the Group of 7, aka G7, includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, and they meet several times a year to talk about international issues, with one major conference being the one all members are expected to attend. This major summit started late last week, with Japan hosting in Hiroshima.
While there are just the seven in the group, other guest countries participate in this big summit. This year, invites were extended to countries like Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Korea and others. Also showing up are reps from agencies like the UN, World Bank and World Health Organization (WHO). Ukraine was also expected to join virtually.
Big topics on the agenda this year are the ones you probably expect – condemning the Ukraine war, discussing Western sanctions on Russia, Taiwan and China relations, the disputed South China Sea, nuclear deterrence and more.
The development: So Brazil ended up joining, as did India, and both of these countries have remained relatively neutral in their stances about the Ukraine and Russia war compared to G7 members. But that’s not the surprising part. Ukraine’s leader Zelenskiy, who was expected to just be dialing in, made a discreet trip to the summit on Saturday afternoon on a French government plane. Some officials on the inside have said this was to pressure or “trap” Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to meet with Zelenskiy.
According to insiders familiar with the conversation, there’s been ongoing pressure for Lula to meet with Zelenskiy, but he’s been hesitant. Now, while Lula ended up not meeting with him after all, India, who’s still a big buyer of Russian oil and weapons, didn’t shy away. Its head, Prime Minister Modi, met Zelenskiy in person (for the first time since the war started) on Saturday. Zelenskiy, on Sunday, brushed off not meeting with Lula, chalking it up to scheduling issues.
“India and I will do whatever we can for the resolution of war,” said India’s Prime Minister Modi on Saturday, according to Indian news agency ANI. “The war in Ukraine is a big issue for the whole world. It has also had many effects on the whole world. But I don’t consider it to be just an issue of economy or politics. For me, it is an issue of humanity,”
“Japan. G7. Important meetings with partners and friends of Ukraine. Security and enhanced cooperation for our victory. Peace will become closer today,” Zelenskiy tweeted after his visit to Japan.
“The task has been set loudly and openly: to defeat Russia on the battlefield, but not to stop there, but to eliminate it as a geopolitical competitor. As a matter of fact, any other country that claims some kind of independent place in the world alignment will also be to suppress a competitor. Look at the decisions that are now being discussed and adopted in Hiroshima, at the G7 summit, and which are aimed at the double containment of Russia and China,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in response to the G7 summit for trying to alienate China and Russia.