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Transfer of Russian assets to Ukraine, 'warning' to China: What to expect from G7 Summit

Transfer of Russian assets to Ukraine, 'warning' to China: What to expect from G7 Summit Photo: The G7 leaders' summit in Italy will take place from June 13 to 15 (Getty Images)

The 50th anniversary G7 Summit in Italy kicks off today, June 13. Support for Ukraine will be one of the key topics of the three-day meeting. In particular, a decision regarding the use of frozen Russian assets is expected. Additionally, the leaders of the Group of Seven will discuss the threat of Russia-China relations, the Middle East conflict, the development of artificial intelligence, and other global challenges.

RBC-Ukraine has compiled everything known about the G7 Summit.


G7 Summit: Where and when it will be held

In 2024, Italy will be the chairing country of the Group of Seven and is hosting the Summit. The G7 leaders will gather at the Borgo Egnazia Resort, located in the Apulia region in the south of the country.

It is worth noting that this Summit will be the 50th, as the first meeting was held in 1975. At the same time, Italy will be the host country for the seventh time. The Group of Seven previously held talks in Venice (1980, 1987), Naples (1994), Genoa (2001), L'Aquila (2009), and Taormina (2017).

This year's anniversary G7 meeting will be held from June 13 to 15. The first day will begin with the arrival of delegations at local airports, and an opening ceremony with the traditional group photo (at noon Kyiv time).

In the following days, several working sessions and negotiations in various formats will take place. On June 15, a press conference and the adoption of the Final Declaration are planned.

Agenda topics

The Summit program in Italy includes six working sessions on the following topics:

  • Dialogue with Africa, climate change, and development;
  • The Middle East;
  • Ukraine;
  • Migration;
  • Indo-Pacific and economic security;
  • A session with invited states and international organizations on issues of Africa, the Mediterranean, artificial intelligence, and energy.

According to the official G7 portal, the Summit will take place at a particularly challenging time on the international stage.

In addition to the war in Ukraine, the conflict in the Middle East will be a key topic of discussion. Ahead of the summit, the Group of Seven supported the US plan for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and called on Hamas to accept it.

Another key topic of debate will be artificial intelligence. Separate sessions will be dedicated to migration, financial issues, and the situation in the Indo-Pacific region.

During the meeting, leaders will also discuss global issues such as economic security, energy transition, and environmental protection.

Not only G7 leaders: Meeting participants

Leaders of G7 countries, EU leadership, and special guests will come to the Summit in Italy.

Main participants:

  • Prime Minister of Italy and chair of this year's meeting – Giorgia Meloni;
  • President of France – Emmanuel Macron;
  • Chancellor of Germany – Olaf Scholz;
  • Prime Minister of the United Kingdom – Rishi Sunak;
  • Prime Minister of Canada – Justin Trudeau;
  • President of the USA – Joe Biden;
  • Prime Minister of Japan – Fumio Kishida;
  • EU leaders – Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen.

As special guests, the Summit will be attended by: the President of Turkiye Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of Argentina Javier Milei, President of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune, President of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (G20 chair this year), Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, King of Jordan Abdullah II, President of Kenya William Ruto, President of Mauritania and Chair of the African Union Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, President of Tunisia Kais Saied, President of the UAE Mohammed bin Zayed.

From international organizations, the following will be present: Kristalina Georgieva (Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund), Mathias Cormann (Secretary-General of the OECD), António Guterres (Secretary-General of the United Nations), Ajay Banga (President of the World Bank).

Furthermore, for the first time in history, the G7 Summit will be attended by the Pope. The Pontiff will speak at a session dedicated to the development of artificial intelligence.

Zelenskyy at the Summit and Ukraine's expectations

The President of Ukraine was personally present at the G7 Summit in Japan last year, and in 2022 he addressed the Group of Seven meeting online. This year, Volodymyr Zelenskyy received an invitation from Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and will participate in the Summit.

The G7 event program includes the following:

  • Zelenskyy's arrival in Borgo Egnazia on June 13 at 15:00 Kyiv time;
  • At 15:15, the first part of the session on the issue of Ukraine will start with the participation of G7 leaders and the Ukrainian delegation;
  • The second part of the session will begin at 16:15 – in the G7 format only.

Additionally, the White House officially announced that US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will meet on the sidelines of the G7 and will hold a press conference after the negotiations.

According to the Financial Times, the outcome of the Biden-Zelenskyy meeting may be the signing of a security agreement between the countries. The media noted that this agreement will be the most important in a series of documents that Ukraine has already concluded with NATO member countries.

Ukrainian President's spokesperson Serhii Nykyforov confirmed plans to sign security agreements with the USA, as well as with Japan soon, but did not specify whether this would happen at the G7 summit.

Regarding Ukraine's expectations from the 2024 summit in Italy, Nykyforov said that the meeting would discuss key topics in relations with Brussels. There will also be bilateral format negotiations.

In particular, talks with the USA will focus on further increasing defense support, developing a fighter coalition, and steps needed to expedite the delivery of F-16s to Ukraine. Additionally, Ukraine plans to discuss the issue of air defense with partners, which is critically important for the front and peaceful cities.

Transfer of frozen Russian assets to Ukraine

The Group of Seven countries have long been negotiating how frozen Russian assets can be used for Ukraine's benefit.

It is known that at the end of May, G7 finance ministers made some progress in discussing this issue. Specific decisions may be made at the leaders' summit, but the final amounts have not yet been agreed upon. Moreover, officials who participated in the ministers' negotiations expressed caution, citing complex legal and technical aspects.

One plan proposed by the USA involves providing Ukraine with a $50 billion loan secured by Russian assets. Washington proposes using the income from frozen Russian funds to provide more money, with future revenues covering these expenses.

The USA hopes that all G7 governments will participate in providing the $50 billion advance loan to Ukraine, but Washington is ready to take on the entire loan independently provided the EU guarantees that Russian assets remain frozen.

Recall that after the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, €260 billion ($281 billion) of the Russian central bank's funds were frozen worldwide. They generate €3 billion in revenue per year.

The European Union, where most of the assets are located, has already agreed to direct annual revenue to a special fund, which will finance military assistance to Ukraine.

Threat of Russia-China relations

China's support for the Russian economy amid the war in Ukraine is another priority topic of the G7 Summit.

World leaders are expected to hold a series of closed meetings on the threat posed by growing China-Russia trade for the war in Ukraine.

According to Reuters sources, G7 countries plan to send a stern warning to Chinese banks about the consequences of helping Russia circumvent sanctions for aggression against Ukraine.

Summit participants will focus on smaller banks, not the largest financial institutions in China. However, sources indicate that G7 countries will not take any immediate punitive measures (such as blocking access to SWIFT, cutting off access to the dollar, etc.) against any Chinese banks at the summit.

A public statement with a warning is planned, the content of which has not been disclosed in advance.

For its part, the USA plans to announce new significant restrictions and stricter export controls targeting organizations and networks helping Russia conduct the war.

White House representative John Kirby reported that the G7 meeting would discuss China's support for Russia's defense-industrial base. In cooperation with partners in the G7 and beyond, the USA will counter China's non-market policies that lead to harmful global effects.

Sources: official G7 Summit portal in Italy and the White House website, publications by CNN, ANSA, Bloomberg, Reuters, Financial Times, and a statement by the Ukrainian President's spokesperson Serhii Nykyforov during a TV marathon.