G7 pledges to beef up Russia sanctions on Ukraine invasion anniversary

G7 pledges to beef up Russia sanctions on Ukraine invasion anniversary
Ukraine marked a sombre first year anniversary of Russia's invasion, which has displaced millions, killed thousands and damaged large swathes of infrastructure in the eastern European country.
8 min read
24 February, 2023
People across Europe and other parts of the world commemorated Ukraine on the first year anniversary of Russia's invasion [Getty]

The New Arab's live blog as Ukraine commemorating one year since Russia invaded the country has now concluded. Follow The New Arab on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for the latest news on the Turkey-Syria earthquake.

The United States on Friday announced sweeping sanctions aimed at increasing economic pain for Russia over its invasion of Ukraine and sharpening efforts to crack down on Moscow's ability to evade existing restrictions.

The White House said the latest measures against Russia were rolled out "in coordination with G7 partners and allies," while Britain announced their sanctions in a statement as well, with the EU also expected to do so though it faced last minute objections by Poland.

The G7 countries, which were holding a virtual summit on Friday to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia launching its invasion, have delivered successive waves of sanctions in an effort the thwart Russia's war machine.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky pledged to push for victory in 2023 as he and other Ukrainians on Friday marked the somber first anniversary of the Russian invasion that he called "the longest day of our lives".

In a defiant video address, President Zelensky recalled the terror unleashed a year ago by the Russian assault, triggering Europe’s biggest and deadliest war since World War II.

"We survived the first day of the full-scale war. We didn’t know what tomorrow would bring, but we clearly understood that for each tomorrow, you need to fight. And we fought," he said.

He also tweeted that Ukrainians had proven themselves to be "invincible" in what he called "a year of pain, sorrow, faith and the unity".

“We know that 2023 will be the year of our victory!".

Ukrainians in the country planned memorials, candle vigils and other remembrances for their tens of thousands of dead, as tolls are expected to increase due to ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine.

Meanwhile, a number of western countries pledged their support for Ukraine, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, who said that Paris "stands by Ukraine's side".

5:51 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

G7 members threaten Russia with sanctions on first year anniversary of Ukraine war

G7 leaders, joined by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, met in a virtual summit on Friday and issued a stern warning to countries helping Russia evade international sanctions.

At the meeting, hosted by current G7 chair Japan, member nations emphasised their commitment to halting Russia's invasion of Ukraine, launched exactly a year ago, and warned Moscow against any use of nuclear weapons.

"We call on third-countries or other international actors who seek to evade or undermine our measures to cease providing material support to Russia's war, or face severe costs," the Group of Seven leaders said in a joint statement.

"To deter this activity around the world, we are taking actions against third-country actors materially supporting Russia's war in Ukraine," it said.

"We commit to intensifying our diplomatic, financial and military support for Ukraine (and) to increasing the costs to Russia and those supporting its war effort," they concluded.

The statement did not single out any nation, though Russia has used Iranian drones in Ukraine, and Washington has recently warned that Beijing is weighing supplying Moscow's war effort. China has denied those claims.

3:33 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russia invasion brought 'living hell' on Ukrainians, UN says

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that Russia's invasion of Ukraine one year ago brought "hell" to the Ukrainian people via "widespread death, destruction and displacement".

"Life is a living hell for the people of Ukraine," Guterres said in prepared remarks as UN Security Council ministers met on the first anniversary of the war.

Laying out the facts of the invasion's social impact, Guterres said around 17.6 million people, or 40 percent of the Ukrainian population, needs humanitarian assistance and protection, while 30 percent of the jobs in the country have been wiped out.

More than eight million Ukrainians have fled to other parts of Europe, and another 5.4 million are internally displaced, "a displacement crisis not seen in Europe in decades," he said.

Half of Ukrainian children have been forced from their homes, and face higher risks of violence, abuse and exploitation, he added.

Guterres said millions of Ukrainians are now subjected to PTSD [Getty]
2:26 PM
The New Arab Staff

Poland delivered four Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv on Friday, coinciding with the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The German-made tank is viewed as one of the best in the world and comes amid planned deliveries of armour by other European countries and the US.

The US said it will deliver 31 M1 Abrams tanks and the UK 14 Challenger 2 tanks.

Spain has said it will send six Leopard 2 tanks, Germany 14, and Poland an additional 10.

Ukraine is currently using Soviet-designed T-72 tanks.

German Leopard tanks during drill
The Leopard II is considered one of the best tanks in the world [Getty]
1:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Japan to propose new sanctions against Russia amid Ukraine invasion anniversary

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Friday he plans to present to other Group of Seven countries a set of "new ideas" for sanctions against Russia over its war on Ukraine when he hosts an online G-7 summit later in the day to mark the one-year anniversary of the start of the invasion.

Kishida, as this year’s G-7 president, told a news conference he also planned to call on other countries to stop providing military support to Russia.

"In order to absolutely not allow one-sided changes to the status quo, we must firmly carry out support for Ukraine and sanctions against Russia to regain peace and international order based on the rule of law," Kishida said. "G-7 serves the core of the international commitment to do so".

Kishida is the sole G-7 leader who has not visited Ukraine. Pressure is increasing in Tokyo for Kishida to visit Kyiv before he hosts the G-7 summit in Hiroshima.

Asked about a possible visit, Kishida said he is "considering" it, taking into consideration ways to ensure safety and secrecy, but nothing official has been decided.

Japan PM Kishida said he will propose a new set of sanctions to fellow G7 leaders [Getty]
1:34 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

EU vows support for refugees on Ukraine war anniversary

European Union officials on Friday pledged continued support to millions of Ukrainian refugees, as they marked the first anniversary of Russia's invasion.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson urged members to conclude long-running negotiations to adopt new EU-wide migration rules and to assist Ukrainians who wished to return home but maintain their temporary residence status in the EU.

More than 8 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the war, according to the United Nations refugee agency, and nearly 5 million have registered for EU temporary protection or similar national protection schemes in Europe.

Bartosz Grodecki, the Polish deputy interior minister, whose country has taken in the most refugees traveling westward since the start of the war, said his government was prepared to receive more people who could be displaced by a widely anticipated spring offensive by Russian forces in Ukraine.

Millions of refugees fled Ukraine as a result of Russia's invasion last year [Getty]
12:07 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN vows 'justice' for victims of Russia's 'senseless' war on Ukraine

UN rights chief Volker Turk on Friday lambasted the human cost of Russia's "senseless" year-old war in Ukraine and called for greater efforts to ensure justice for victims.

Turk said the civilian toll was "unbearable", with his office verifying that at least 8,006 civilians had been killed and 13,287 injured up to February 15, though the real figures are much higher.

The United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights said attempts to establish accountability and justice for international law violations had to intensify.

"As we mark one year since Russia's war against Ukraine began, I deplore the terrible human cost of this senseless conflict," Turk said in a video statement.

"The toll on civilians is unbearable. Nearly 18 million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. Some 14 million people have been displaced from their homes".

He said most of those who remained in conflict-affected areas were older people who were reluctant or not able to leave, adding that children have seen their education halted by attacks on schools.

"Efforts to establish accountability and justice for violations of international law must intensify and deepen," Turk said.

"It is equally vital that victims can access reparations and the practical assistance they desperately need, without first having to wait for the outcomes of formal legal proceedings".

The UN's Volger Turk is seeking justice for victims of Russia's war on Ukraine [Getty]
11:55 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Britain pays tribute to Ukraine with one minute silence

UK officials, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, have taken part in a one minute's silence in the country at 11am, marking the one year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Kyiv.

Ahead of the silence, Sunak shared a message confirming the UK will continue providing "the vital sources Ukraine needs as long as it takes," according to The Independent

People in London stage a vigil for victims of Russia's war on Ukraine [Getty]
11:46 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US pledges $2 billion in security aid for Ukraine on invasion anniversary

The United States said it will provide $2 billion in additional security assistance for Ukraine on Friday, coinciding with the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of its eastern neighbour.

The aid includes ammunition for the Himars precision rocket system, 155 mm artillery rounds, drone and counter-drone systems, mine clearing equipment, and funding for training and maintenance, the Pentagon said in a statement.

Items in the package will be purchased from the defense industry instead of drawn from US stocks, meaning they will take longer to get to Kyiv's forces.

The United States has led the push for international support for Ukraine, quickly forging an international coalition to back Kyiv after Russia invaded in February last year and coordinating aid from dozens of countries, including the UK.

Washington has committed more than $32 billion in security assistance over the past year, while other countries have promised more than $20 billion, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement marking the one-year anniversary of the invasion.