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Biden, Zelensky to sign security deal, as G7 leaders agree to use Russian money to help kyiv

Biden, Zelensky to sign security deal, as G7 leaders agree to use Russian money to help kyiv
Biden, Zelensky to sign security deal, as G7 leaders agree to use Russian money to help kyiv


WASHINGTON 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 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 discusses ways to use the more than $260 billion in Russian assets frozen outside the country after the invasion of February 24, 2022 from 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.

Deal announcement comes as Biden lands in Italy to attend the summit of the world's main democracies with the urgency to accomplish great things, in particular to transform Russian assets frozen in billions of dollars to help Ukraine fight Russian President Vladimir Putin 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 continue to help meet their security needs, Sullivan said, adding that “this agreement will 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 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, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Japan will use the summit to discuss challenges related to artificial intelligence, migration, the resurgence of the Russian army 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, will come after far-right parties across the continent racked up gains of surprising magnitude at the just-concluded summit. European Union elections. These victories, coupled with the upcoming elections to 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 talking to U.S. and European officials: If we can't get it done now, whether on China or on assets, we may not get another chance, said Josh Lipsky, 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 to a state visit in Paris and marking ceremonies in Normandy the 80th anniversary of the Landing during WWII.

Although last week's visit was celebratory, it will be dominated by pressing global issues, including how to maintain financial support for Ukraine as it struggles. Invasion of Russia. Biden's trip comes a day after his son Hunter's departure convicted of federal gun chargesa hard blow that will certainly 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 because “America was back” SEO Biden's speech in 2021 at the G7 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,” said Kirby. “This includes support for Ukraine.

Biden and Zelenskyy, who met last week in Pariswill meet again to discuss continued support for the Eastern European nation as it attempts to fend off an intense crisis. Russian offensive in the eastern regions of the country. They are expected to hold a joint press conference. Biden is also expected to meet Giorgia Meloni, Italian Prime Ministerthe pope and other leaders.

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

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

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

Despite delays in providing military aid, the Biden administration announced Tuesday that it would do so. send Ukraine another Patriot missile system to help 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 Wednesday, the U.S. announced new sanctions targeting Chinese companies that are helping Russia continue 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 number of people at their borders has been a factor in the rise of the far right in certain regions of Europe.


Superville reported from Bari, Italy. Miller and Madhani reported from Washington. Sylvie Corbet in Paris and Fatima Hussein and Josh Boak in Washington contributed.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.




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