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G-7 leaders pledge support against Russia after Zelenskyy speech

Smoke rises above the buildings after the Russian missile attack on the critical infrastructure of Lviv on Oct. 10, 2022. Russia launched 15 rockets in the Lviv region, some were shot down by air defense forces, the rest hit energy infrastructure facilities. Due to the rocket attack, Lviv was left without electricity, water and mobile communication.

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Leaders of some of the world’s largest economies reiterated their commitment to Ukraine and condemned Russia’s escalating aggression following a virtual meeting Tuesday morning, vowing to back Ukraine for “as long as it takes.”

“We will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military, diplomatic and legal support and will stand firmly with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” the G-7 group of nations said in a statement. “We are committed to supporting Ukraine in meeting its winter preparedness needs.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the cohort virtually at the start of the meeting. The event came after Russia deployed around 80 missiles across Ukraine on Monday, killing at least 19 people and injuring many others, Ukrainian officials said.

“We condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms and recall that indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilian populations constitute a war crime,” the group said. “We will hold President [Vladimir] Putin and those responsible to account.”

U.S. President Joe Biden affirmed the group’s stance in a tweet following the meeting. He said that he and the G-7 leaders will keep their “unwavering commitment to hold Russia accountable for its war and support Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

Russia was a member of the G-7 but was kicked out after it annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea in 2014. The Kerch Strait Bridge connecting Russia to Crimea was damaged in a bombing Saturday.

The G-7 members are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

The G-7 condemned steps Russia has taken to escalate its war in Ukraine. They include the partial mobilization Putin announced Sept. 21 and Moscow’s “irresponsible nuclear rhetoric” that the group said “is putting global peace and security at risk.” Russia will face “severe consequences” if it uses chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, the G-7 said.

Putin has hinted at threats to use nuclear weapons. In a televised speech in September where he addressed the partial mobilization, Putin said he would “certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people.” He added that he was not bluffing.

The White House has repeatedly said it takes Russia’s threats of nuclear war seriously but does not see indications of a present threat. Biden on Thursday warned of “the prospect of Armageddon” if Russia uses its nuclear weapons.

In the statement released after the meeting, the G-7 said it condemned and rejected Russia’s attempt to annex regions of Ukraine, and vowed to never recognize referendums conducted in parts of Ukraine. The nations also said they agreed that Russia “blatantly violated” the United Nations charter.

Members also agreed to continue to impose economic sanctions on Russia, as well as people or groups that are giving Moscow political or economic support in its war.

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