Every year since 1975, a world economic summit has been held to discuss and brainstorm the current challenges facing the world. It has evolved since then into what we know today as the G7. There are seven member nations who make up this council including the United States and the current Presiding nation of Germany. The 26th of this month will mark the beginning of a new summit meeting in the Bavarian Alps with the massive backdrop of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Although it does not wield the policy making power like the EU or the UN, the G7 will play a huge role in setting the tone for the remainder of the war. Ministers from other countries and representatives from the EU have been invited to take part in the summit as well. Since Russia began sending troops to the Ukrainian border, many emergency meetings have been convened in response to the Russian act of aggression on Ukraine. This will add to the buildup of this year’s G7 summit which will like showcase severe punishments and a doubling down of its strict behavior towards Russia.
Of the preliminary events in the months leading up to the summit, a Foreign Ministers’ meeting on the 12-14th of May took place in which the members of the council produced a statement declaring in 15 points its intentions in its relationship to Russia. It will continue pressing economic sanctions against Russia by discussing certain sanction packages and will encourage others to help prevent Russia from evading them by also withholding trade relations. Russia may however have a backdoor with China who seem to be eager maintain an open line of trade, seeing that they can import goods at a cheaper price without any competitors. China must tread a careful line as to not face consequences from the West. The G7 will most certainly be discussing the Chinese-Russian relationship and how to slow it down and prevent Russia from avoiding its sanctions. It was made clear that support will be given long into the future if needed, to aid Ukraine and protect its democracy, ensuring that the members of the G7 will be locked into this conflict until the end.
The G7 will be firm in its aim to impose more sanctions except it be agricultural products to developing nations and eventually transition to a state of zero dependence on Russian exports. The upcoming summit meeting will focus on solutions to make this goal possible. Considering that the climate change crisis will also occupy a large portion of the summit’s agenda, the timing will be better than ever to make progress towards becoming more energy independent. With a transition away from Russian energy and an overall transition towards clean energy, the G7 will be eager to cut its ties with Russia, benefiting more than just the war efforts. The U.S. and many major countries must find a way to make up for the Russian exports they lost; this will perhaps spark more debate towards finding solutions to both energy and climate change at the same time.
With a ban on Russian Oil, gas prices have soared over five dollars a gallon in some states. In Europe, a partial ban is in place with more to bans to follow in 6- and 8-months’ time. However, Putin speaking to the Russian Government said, "The prices are growing, but not through our fault. This is the result of their own miscalculations”. Russia is hoping to find other trade partners by putting the blame on the West for the energy crisis, making them appear less like a bad investment. One of the hopes that Russia has is that the West will only hold out in this war if it is willing to pay increasing amounts on energy. It has become a war of attrition and the aims outlined by the G7 tell us that it won’t be backing down anytime soon. Putin hopes that high prices will deter the countries on both sides of the Atlantic from pledging more support as to save their own economies from any further losses. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova even called out this dogmatic strategy of heavy sanctions as “Suicidal” for western countries, as if they were, “shoot[ing] themselves in the head”. The member nations of G7 will be looking to increase sanctions in hopes that Russia’s economy will bleed out quicker than the expenditures of energy can tire us out. Ukraine has also made it clear that they are seeking and expecting constant support in the form of more sanction packages. Ukraine even wrote a letter to the EU outlining the next round of sanctions that it should make. This would result in the seventh package enforced on Russia. We can be sure to believe that the next round of sanctions will be one of the top priorities for the G7 in the summit later this month.
Amid the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, Covid-19 still affects millions, the climate change discussion continues, and even other topics such as Crypto currency, cybersecurity and the food shortage still demand the attention of leaders around the world. The G7 has truly never had so much on their to-do list. Although the G7 deals with global problems not all related to the war, the results of the summit should give the US and the west a clear outline of what the rest of the conflict in Ukraine will look like and how it will affect the U.S. With more sanctions to follow market prices could very likely stay high for the remainder of the year. Governments around the world will be tuning in to the summit in the hopes of gaining some clarity on the direction the Ukrainian allies will take going forward.