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War in Ukraine: NATO, the G7 and the European Union harden the tone against Russia

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Joe Biden promises “a NATO response” in the event of the use of chemical weapons.

NATO promised on Thursday new military aid to Ukraine and sent reinforcements to its eastern flank, while the US and UK imposed new sanctions on Russia in apparent Western unity against Russia.

While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Vladimir Putin, in a video address to the G7, of using phosphorus bombs, Joe Biden promised a “response” of NATO in the event of the use of chemical weapons by Russia. Alliance member countries have also agreed to help protect Ukraine from possible chemical, biological or nuclear attacks.

Washington and its allies have also begun to discuss the delivery of anti-ship missiles which could help Ukraine loosen the Russian grip around the Black Sea ports.

“We have decided to intensify work to prevent escalation scenarios (and to) continue to provide weapons, defensive and lethal but with a red line that continues to be non-cobelligerent”summarized Emmanuel Macron during a press conference.

But the three summits organized by Westerners in Brussels – NATO, G7 and European Union – have probably not lived up to the expectations of Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky, in search of a “unrestricted military aid” and much more substantial sanctions against Moscow, a month after the invasion of his country by Russian forces.

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Russia “in default”

The European Union remains, moreover, divided on the advisability of severing all its energy links with Russia, Germany continuing to oppose an immediate embargo on the hydrocarbons delivered by Moscow on which it is closely dependent.

While Russia responds to about 40% of European gas needsthis issue has become even thornier for the EU since Vladimir Putin demanded on Wednesday that countries “unfriendly” pay in rubles for gas deliveries. Several leaders of the Twenty-Seven opposed him an end of inadmissibility, denouncing a breach of contract.

The EU has decided, for the time being, to gradually reduce your energy dependence to Russia but the hydrocarbons sector is relatively protected by the massive economic sanctions imposed by the West since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24. However, an agreement has been reached for the United States to deliver more liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe via the United Kingdom.

Latvia has called for an outright ban on imports of Russian energy products, “to keep money out of war chests”while the Russian economy is already “in default”, according to Emmanuel Macron. A warning was also addressed by the West to China to encourage it not to support in one way or another the Russian war effort.

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The G7 and the EU – which will hold a summit with China on April 1 – have also warned that any deal involving Russia’s gold reserves will be subject to sanctions, in a bid to prevent Moscow from circumventing punitive measures. .

The Twenty-Seven are struggling, however, to apply the sanctions already imposed on Moscow, in particular against the oligarchs whose fortunes remain largely intact, four weeks after the onslaught by Russian forces began.

Food Security Contingency Plan

Emmanuel Macron proposed Thursday to launch, within the framework of the French presidency of the European Union, an emergency plan for global food securitythreatened by the war in Ukraine. “I wanted to launch a ‘Farm’ initiative”explained Emmanuel Macron.

It aims to “resolve this crisis”, by elaborating a business contingency planby releasing the stocks of certain countries, and, to anticipate the lack of production this summer, help the most dependent countries to increase their production.

“Food shortages will materialize”abounded Joe Biden after G7 and NATO summits, assuring that the United States like Canada, major producers of cereals, would increase their exports accordingly.

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