The US and other G7 countries vowed to defend Ukraine’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity” on Sunday’s 77th anniversary of Germany’s World War II defeat — as Russian despot Vladimir Putin boasted of erasing Ukrainian “Nazi filth.”
Leaders of the Group of Seven — the US, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, the UK and Japan — made the pledge in a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Canadian President Justin Trudeau and First Lady Jill Biden also showed their personal support for Ukraine by paying separate surprise visits to the embattled nation Sunday.
“Today, we, the G7, reassured President Zelenskyy of our continued readiness to undertake further commitments to help Ukraine secure its free and democratic future, such that Ukraine can defend itself now and deter future acts of aggression,” the seven countries wrote in a statement.
As part of the promises made on Sunday’s call, the Biden Administration will ban the sale of all American-made technology and equipment to state-owned Russian TV channels to try to curb “Putin’s propaganda machine,” a senior administration official said. The move includes barring advertisers from buying time on state Russian airwaves, the official said.
The White House, in tandem with the EU, is also sanctioning Russia’s ability to access even more chemical and mechanical components needed to restock its military capability.
The US will add 2,600 more visa restrictions in response to the war and sanction more Russian bank executives, too, the official said. Russian oligarchs and businesses will also be barred from using U.S. accounting, consulting and marketing services.
On the G7 call, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Zelensky he would further intensify economic pressure against Russia, saying, “The world must go further and faster to support Ukraine,” according to his office.
Meanwhile, Russia spent the 77th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany continuing to parrot its line it was “cleansing” Ukraine of Nazism.
“Today, our soldiers, as their ancestors, are fighting side by side to liberate their native land from the Nazi filth with the confidence that, as in 1945, victory will be ours,” Putin said Sunday.
Soviet flags and striped military ribbons have been strung up across the nation ahead of Monday’s Victory Day parade in Moscow, which is expected to be more sparse as much of the country’s soldiers and military equipment is currently deployed in Ukraine.
“I can’t remember a time when the May 9 holiday was anticipated with such anxiety,” Russian historian Ivan Kurilla wrote on Facebook, according to The Associated Press.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said he believes Putin may use the celebration to say, ‘Look, this is now a war against Nazis, and what I need is more people.’ ”
In Ukraine, Trudeau was pictured Sunday walking around the heavily shelled Kyiv suburb of Irpin and announced while visiting the capital city that he will send more weapons to Zelensky’s army. He also reopened the Canadian embassy in Kyiv, raising his country’s flag there.
Meanwhile, Jill Biden traveled in secret to Uzhhorod, a small city in western Ukraine a few miles from Slovakia.
She met with Ukraine’s First Lady, Olena Zelenska, and the two sat across the table from one another in a small classroom and spoke in front of reporters before a private meeting.
Zelenska called Jill Biden “courageous,” saying, “We understand what it takes for the US First Lady to come here during a war when military actions are taking place every day, where the air sirens are happening every day — even today.”
The developments came as:
- House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said “we have to” approve the proposed $33 billion in additional cash for Ukraine by end of the month.
- As many as 60 people were feared dead in the Russian bombing of a school in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, the regional governor said Sunday.
- UK’s Johnson said the G7 countries need to do more to support Ukraine’s agricultural sector, saying it could hurt food security around the world
- Trudeau announced more sanctions on 40 individual Russians and five entities
- U2’s Bono and The Edge performed a surprise concert in a Kyiv subway station Sunday at the request of Zelensky.
- The US and the EU are still considering whether to sanction Putin’s rumored girlfriend, Alina Kabaev, the senior Biden administration official said Sunday.
With Post Wires