Curious to know: Will Zelenskyy fly to Japan as G-7 reveals plans for Russia sanctions?

G-7 leaders to introduce measures to economically isolate Russia

Leaders of the Group of Seven are expected to introduce on a set of measures to add pressure on Russia as its invasion of Ukraine continues for a second year.

G-7 leaders are in Hiroshima, Japan, for a three-day meeting to discuss international trade and security as the U.S. and China battle for influence in a multipolar world amid concerns of their decoupling, and as the Ukraine war continues.

A senior U.S. administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said early Friday morning that the government plans to introduce steps to “economically isolate” Russia to weaken its ability to wage war.

“We will continue to expand export controls to make it even harder for Russia to sustain its war machine,” the senior official told reporters, emphasizing that the U.S. government’s “commitment to continue tightening the screws on Russia remains as strong as it was last year.”

Discussions on the scope of the sanctions on Russia will be underway as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is reportedly expected to fly to Japan to attend the G-7 summit on Sunday, according to the Financial Times.

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The U.S. official added that all G-7 members are preparing to implement a fresh batch of export controls. That will include adding 70 entities to the U.S. commerce blacklist and more than 300 new sanctions against individuals, entities, vessels and aircraft.

“These will go after financial facilitators, as well as future energy and extractive capabilities of Russia and other actors helping to support the war,” said the official, adding the sanctions will span Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Banned diamonds

Those developments come as the United Kingdom separately imposed more sanctions on Russia under a legislation to be introduced later in the year.

“The U.K. is today announcing a ban on Russian diamonds, an industry worth $4 billion in exports in 2021, as well as imports of Russian-origin copper, aluminium and nickel,” Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office said in a Friday release.

“As today’s sanctions announcements demonstrate, the G7 remains unified in the face of the threat from Russia and steadfast in our support for Ukraine,” Sunak said.

‘Minimal impact’

However, the additional efforts to squeeze Russia’s economy are unlikely to make a significant impact, according to George Washington University research professor of international affairs, Robert Orttung.

“The new restrictive sanctions on Russia will have minimal impact on world trade. None of these measures are likely to get Russia to stop its war on Ukraine since Putin is fully committed to that and the sanctions are not harming Russia’s ability to operate on a day-to-day basis,” he said in an email.

“Since China and India are not participating in the sanctions, Russia still has plenty of trading partners,” he added.

Orttung noted that the measures to heighten economic pressure on Russia would be symbolically important when combined with extensive military aid to Ukraine.

“The most helpful outcome for world trade will be an end to the war that blocks Russia from further aggression,” he said.

“Everything that the West can do to increase Ukrainian fighting capacity and weaken Russia moves us closer to this goal.”

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