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Biden Meets w/ Western Leaders to Discuss Ukraine amid War Fatigue

'Putin has been counting on, from the beginning, that somehow NATO and the G-7 would splinter...'

(Headline USA) President Joe Biden and Western allies opened a three-day summit in the Bavarian Alps on Sunday intent on keeping economic fallout from the war in Ukraine from fracturing the global coalition working to punish Russia’s aggression. Britain’s Boris Johnson warned the leaders not to give in to “fatigue” even as Russia lobbed new missiles at Kyiv.

The Group of Seven leaders were set to announce new bans on imports of Russian gold, the latest in a series of sanctions the club of democracies hopes will further isolate Russia economically.

They also were looking at possible price caps on energy meant to limit Russian oil and gas profits that Moscow can pump into its war effort.

And following up on a proposal from last year’s G-7 summit, Biden formally launched a global infrastructure partnership designed to counter China’s influence in the developing world. The initiative aims to leverage $600 billion with fellow G-7 countries by 2027 for global infrastructure projects. Some $200 billion would come from the United States, Biden said.

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U.S. officials have long argued that China’s infrastructure initiative traps receiving countries in debt and that the investments benefit China more than their hosts.

In a pre-summit show of force, Russia launched its first missile strikes against the Ukrainian capital in three weeks, striking at least two residential buildings, according to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko.

Biden condemned Russia’s actions as “more of their barbarism,” and stressed that allies need to remain firm even as the economic reverberations from the war take a toll around the globe in inflation, food shortages and more.

“We have to stay together, because Putin has been counting on, from the beginning, that somehow NATO and the G-7 would splinter, but we haven’t and we’re not going to,” Biden said during a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who holds the G-7’s rotating presidency and is hosting the gathering.

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As the G-7 leaders sat down for their opening session, they took a light-hearted jab at Putin.

Johnson could be heard asking whether he should keep his jacket on, adding, “We all have to show that we’re tougher than Putin.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chimed in: “A bare-chested horseback ride.”

No one took up Trudeau on his offer.

Reporting adapted from the Associated Press.

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