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Biden, Zelensky to sign security deal, as G7 leaders agree to use Russian money to help kyiv – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports

Biden, Zelensky to sign security deal, as G7 leaders agree to use Russian money to help kyiv – WSVN 7News |  Miami News, Weather, Sports
Biden, Zelensky to sign security deal, as G7 leaders agree to use Russian money to help kyiv – WSVN 7News |  Miami News, Weather, Sports

 


BRINDISI, Italy (AP) President Joe Biden and President Volodymyr Zelensky will sign a bilateral security agreement between the United States and Ukraine on Thursday when they meet on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit in Italy, as the The group's negotiators reached an agreement. on how to provide Ukraine with up to $50 billion backed by frozen Russian assets.

The international group of wealthy democracies is discussing ways to use the more than $260 billion in Russian assets frozen outside the country after the Feb. 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine to help Kyiv.

European officials have resisted asset confiscation, citing legal and financial stability concerns. Most of the frozen assets are located in Europe, but the plan would use interest earned on the assets to help Ukraine's war effort. A French presidency official confirmed the deal on Wednesday, saying most of the money would flow to Ukraine in the form of a US government loan backed by proceeds from frozen Russian assets in the bloc. European. Two other people familiar with the matter confirmed the deal.

Final technical negotiations were underway before the summit to finalize the legal terms of the agreement.

The announcement of the deal comes as Biden lands in Italy to attend the summit of the world's leading democracies with an urgency to do big things, including turning frozen Russian assets into billions of dollars to help Ukraine fight Russian President Vladimir Putin's war machine.

The security deal was aimed at sending Russia a signal of US determination to support kyiv, the White House said as Biden headed to Europe.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan said the security deal would not commit U.S. troops directly to defending Ukraine against Russian invasion, a red line drawn by Biden, who fears be drawn into direct conflict between nuclear powers.

We want to demonstrate that the United States supports the Ukrainian people, that we stand with them and that we continue to help meet their security needs, Sullivan said, adding that this agreement would show our resolve.

Sullivan said aboard Air Force One that the goal of the financing plan was to secure a loan that would recoup windfall profits from assets seized by Russia, giving Ukraine a substantial source of financing to meet their immediate needs.

The national security adviser said he had a specific amount of money in mind, but declined to say whether that figure was $50 billion. He stressed the urgency of obtaining financial resources for Ukraine as quickly as possible and that several countries would support the agreement.

This is about providing Ukraine with the resources needed now for its economic energy and other needs, so that it is able to have the resilience to resist Russia's continued aggression, Sullivan said .

This year's meeting comes three years after Biden declared in his first such meeting that America was back as a world leader following the disruptions to Western alliances that occurred when Donald Trump was president. It is now possible that this gathering could be the last G7 for Biden and other G7 leaders, depending on the results of this year's elections.

Biden and his counterparts from Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan will use the summit to discuss challenges related to artificial intelligence, migration, resurgence of the military Russian and the economic power of China, among other subjects. Pope Francis, Zelensky and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan join the gathering at the seaside resort of Borgo Egnazia in southern Italy's Puglia region.

The summit, which opens on Thursday, comes after the continent's far-right parties racked up surprisingly large gains in just-concluded European elections. These victories, coupled with upcoming elections in the United Kingdom, France and the United States, have shaken the global political establishment and added weight to this year's summit.

You hear this a lot when you talk to U.S. and European officials: If we can't get this done now, whether on China or on assets, we may not get another chance, Josh Lipsky said , senior director of the Atlantic Councils. GeoEconomics Center, an international affairs think tank. We don't know what the world will look like in three months, six months, nine months.

The G7 is an informal bloc of industrialized democracies that meets annually to discuss common issues and concerns. Biden will arrive in Italy on Wednesday evening, his second trip outside the United States in as many weeks. The Democratic president was in France last week for a state visit to Paris and ceremonies in Normandy marking the 80th anniversary of the World War II landings.

While last week's visit had a celebratory character, this one will be dominated by pressing global issues, including how to maintain financial support for Ukraine as it fights the Russian invasion. Biden's trip comes a day after his son Hunter was convicted of federal gun-related charges, a blow that is sure to weigh heavily on the president's mind.

Despite pressing global challenges, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said there is still a sense of relief among world leaders in 2024 that America is back, referring to at Biden's 2021 G7 speech in England.

Biden's message then was that democracies must step up and show they can meet the expectations of their people, Kirby said. This is more true than ever.

Kirby said the United States is willing to work with democratically elected officials in the EU, whoever they may be, even if some of those who have been promoted have expressed far less support for Ukraine than current leaders.

We are confident that whoever takes the seats in the European Parliament, we will continue to work closely with our EU partners on all issues relating to our common interests across the European continent, Kirby said. This includes support for Ukraine.

Biden and Zelensky, who met last week in Paris, will meet again to discuss continued support for the Eastern European nation, which is trying to repel an intense Russian offensive in the country's eastern regions. They are expected to hold a joint press conference. Biden is also expected to meet with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, the pope and other leaders.

Biden, who insisted we would not leave Ukraine, last week publicly apologized to Zelensky for Congress' months-long delay in authorizing additional U.S. military aid. This delay allowed Russia to make gains on the battlefield.

Sullivan called the security deal a bridge to when Ukraine will be invited to join the NATO alliance, a long-term priority of Zelenskyy's that allies say will first require ending the Russian-Ukrainian war and which Putin strongly opposed.

Biden's back-to-back trips to France and Italy constitute a rare diplomatic double bill in the midst of a presidential election. The president will skip a Ukraine peace conference in Switzerland this weekend and will fly to Los Angeles for a fundraising campaign with big Hollywood names. Vice President Kamala Harris will represent the United States at the conference.

Despite delays in military aid, the Biden administration announced Tuesday that it will send Ukraine another Patriot missile system to help it repel Russian strikes, two U.S. officials told The Associated Press . Biden approved the move, the officials told the AP, as kyiv has desperately called for more air defenses in its fight against an intense Russian attack on the northeastern Kharkiv region.

Earlier on Wednesday, the United States announced new sanctions targeting Chinese companies that help Russia pursue its war in Ukraine, as well as Russian financial infrastructure. Sullivan said: “These actions will increase the risk foreign financial institutions take in dealing with the Russian war economy.

Biden is also expected to discuss economic concerns caused by Chinese manufacturing overcapacity, how to use artificial intelligence in ways that maximize profits while managing national security risks, and global migration.

The United States and other G7 countries are struggling to manage massive influxes of migrants arriving for complex reasons such as war, climate change and drought. Migration, and how countries deal with the growing numbers of migrants at their borders, has been a factor behind the rise of the far right in parts of Europe.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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