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G7 leaders talk Ukraine defense support as Russia targets key infrastructure

The G7 leaders heard from the Ukrainian foreign minister as they discussed how to support Ukraine against the Russian invasion, as well as tensions between Israel and Iran.

Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) major powers warned on Thursday that Ukraine risked being defeated by Russia unless it received more air defenses, as Kyiv urged a change in Western strategy towards the war.

More than two years into Russia's full-scale invasion, Ukraine is facing a shortage of ammunition, with vital funding from the U.S. blocked by Republicans in Congress for months and the EU failing to deliver sufficient munitions on time.

G7 ministers kicked off a second day of talks on the Italian island of Capri by discussing the Middle East crisis and will turn their attention to Ukraine in the afternoon, when they will be joined by the head of NATO and Ukraine's foreign minister.

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The European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who attends G7 gatherings alongside U.S., Italian, German, French, British, Japanese and Canadian counterparts, urged EU nations to hand over air defense systems to help Ukraine protect its cities from Russia, which is targeting key infrastructure.

"Otherwise the electricity system of Ukraine will be destroyed. And no country can fight without having electricity at home, in the factories, online, for everything," he told reporters as Thursday's session got underway.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the West had a different attitude towards Israel than his own country, noting that when Iran launched missiles and drones towards Israel on Saturday, U.S., British and French forces helped down them.

"The strategy of our partners in Israel seems to be in preventing damage and death. ... In the last months, the strategy of our partners in Ukraine seems to be in helping (us) to recover from damage," he said ahead of the Capri talks.

"So our job today is to find a way where our partners will design a mechanism, a way that will allow us also to avoid death and destruction in Ukraine."

Domestic political wrangling has delayed the delivery of desperately needed aid for Ukraine worth $60.84 billion, but the U.S. House of Representatives might finally get to vote on the package this weekend, bringing some hope to G7 ministers.

"In these turbulent times, it is a hopeful sign that there are now signals from the Republicans in the U.S. that support for Ukraine can be continued intensively," German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told a news conference in Capri.

Kuleba said he hoped to get immediate pledges this week on the delivery of more Patriot and SAMP/T air defense systems and also new Western sanctions targeting Iran's production of armed drones, which are being exported to Russia.

Opening Thursday's talks, Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani said the question of sanctions on Iran would be addressed as the West looked for ways to penalize Tehran for its missile attack on Israel, but also reiterated Western calls for Israel to show restraint.

"Any form of retaliation would compromise already fragile and delicate equilibriums," Tajani said.

It appears that such appeals will fall on deaf ears with Israel saying on Wednesday it would make its own decisions about how to defend itself, and British Foreign Secretary David Cameron saying it was apparent Israel planned to strike back.

Although the Middle East and Ukraine will dominate the G7 gathering, which finishes on Friday, the ministers will also look at ways of strengthening ties with Africa, discuss stability in the Indo-Pacific region and hold debates on issues including cybersecurity and Artificial Intelligence.

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