G-7 heightening Russia sanctions for Ukraine war

The United States announced Monday new sanctions it and other G-7 countries are enacting against Russia in response to its war in Ukraine, including measures to cut off Russia from materials and services needed by Russia’s industrial and technology sectors.

The White House said the United States will commit $7.5 billion as part of a G-7 effort to help Ukraine cover its short-term budget needs, and that the governments are making “an unprecedented, long-term security commitment to providing Ukraine with financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support as long as it takes.”

The announcement came as G-7 leaders met in Germany, where they spoke by video link with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Additional specific U.S. sanctions include blocks on Russian state-owned defense enterprises and defense research organizations, limiting Russia’s ability to replenish equipment it has lost in the war, and prohibitions on gold imports into the United States.

Russian troops carried out shelling in the eastern city of Lysychansk on Monday, working to try to capture the last remaining Ukrainian stronghold in Luhansk province after seizing control of neighboring Sievierodonetsk.

Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haidai said the damage to Lysychansk has be “catastrophic.”

Haidai urged the remaining civilians to evacuate the city that was home to 100,000 people before Russia launched its invasion in late February.

Russia now controls virtually all of Luhansk province, part of the eastern Donbas region that Moscow is trying to take over, one of its major war aims.

Russian forces on Sunday launched new missile attacks against Ukraine’s two biggest cities, the capital of Kyiv and Kharkiv.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said at least two apartment buildings in the city were hit, leaving at least one person dead, and four others injured.

Russia ramped up its use of cruise missiles, striking targets across northwestern Ukraine. Air raid sirens blared in several cities.

“It’s more of their barbarism,” U.S. President Joe Biden said of the Russian strike on Kyiv.

Russia on Monday rejected that it defaulted on international debt payments for the first time in a century.

Interest payments totaling $100 million on two bonds were originally due May 27 but carried a 30-day grace period.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Russia had made the payments in May, but that they were blocked by Western sanctions and thus were “not our problem.”(VOA)