Biden kicks off his first day at G7 meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz

Biden kicks off his first day at G7 meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz

Beginning his first day at the G7 conference on Sunday, President Joe Biden praised the German chancellor and vowed that Western leaders will unify against Vladimir Putin.

‘Thank you thank you… we have to stay together,’ he told Olaf Scholz as they looked out at the stunning mountain view at Schloss Elmau, the grand setting for the summit.

‘Because Putin is counting on from the beginning that NATO and the G7 would splinter. But we haven’t and we’re not going to.’

As the G7 leaders evaluate how effectively the sanctions are working, Russia and Ukraine will take center stage during the meeting. They will also talk about how the global economy is becoming worse.

The conference could not have come at a better moment, as Ukrainian forces are losing territory in the country’s east and rockets are now hitting Kyiv for the first time in three weeks.

When Biden got on the decking, Scholz was waiting for him in a pavilion with sweeping Alpine views.

Before sitting down to discuss the day’s agenda, the two leaders took time to take in the surroundings.

When he noticed Scholz standing at the picturesque deck overlook with the mountains visible in the distance, Biden quipped, “Don’t leap.”

He removed his signature aviator sunglasses and shook Scholz hand, telling him ‘good to see you.’President Joe Biden started his first day at the G7 meeting with German Chancellor Olaf ScholzThey began by admiring the stunning Alpine views at the Schloss Elmau venue for the G7 venue in GermanyGerman Chancellor Olaf Scholz, center, and his wife Britta Ernst, right, pose with U.S. President Joe Biden during the official G7 summit welcome ceremony at Castle Elmau in Kruen

‘I used to ski too I haven’t skied in a while,’ continued Biden. ‘It’s beautiful.’

Then it was down to business.

In a statement after the meeting, the White House said the two also discussed climate issues and economic resilience.

‘Finally, the leaders also discussed the challenges posed by China and our shared commitment to provide transparent and high-standard solutions to address global gaps in key infrastructure,’ it said

The president will spend the day in formal and informal meeting with the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the European Union.

Russia and its war in the Ukraine will ‘be at the top of the list’ of agenda items, a senior administration official said of the day.

‘We’re going to continue working on the economic challenges we face,’ Biden said.

As the G7 leaders gathered in Germany, Russia ramped up its attacks in the Ukraine. Russian forces attacked the capital of Kyiv for the first time in weeks, striking at least two residential buildings.

The fallout from the invasion will on the agenda. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky will virtually address the G7 on Monday.

The first formal session for the leaders of the world’s seven largest economies will be the economy and the high food and gas prices that have resulted from both the invasion of the Ukraine and the world emerging from the covid pandemic.

Like the United States, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom are battling record-high inflation.

‘The disruptions generally that are emanating from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, even as the leaders, including President Biden will be focused on the challenge and the challenges and disruptions of the moment,’ a senior administration official said on Sunday morning.

Biden will also spend his time at the G7 – and at the NATO summit later this week – holding together the Western allies on Russian sanctions.

The U.S., UK, Canada and Japan are implementing a new round of punishments on Russia President Vladimir Putin in an attempt to isolate him financially.

The countries are banning the import of Russian gold, which, after oil, is its biggest revenue generator.

Biden and Scholz met hours after missiles hit Kyiv for the first time in weeks. Rescue workers can be seen here evacuating a person from a residential building damaged by a strike which Kyiv major Vitali Klitshko says has injured many

‘The United States has imposed unprecedented costs on Putin to deny him the revenue he needs to fund his war against Ukraine,’ Biden wrote on Twitter.

‘Together, the G7 will announce that we will ban the import of Russian gold, a major export that rakes in tens of billions of dollars for Russia.’

The West has already imposed a series of sanctions on Russian oil, luxury goods and other items.

But questions remain about the impact of those financial punishments.

‘The short-term financial impact of the sanctions on Russia’s economy has been substantial but appears to have dissipated since May,’ the Center for Strategic and International Studies reported this month.

And Russian oil, the nation’s biggest source of income, is still being purchased – China and India are picking up the slack left when the U.S. and allies started to ban Russian oil.

While oil sales are down, prices are up, helping generate billions for Putin’s war.

Russia is still raking in $1 billion a day from its oil supply, the Center for Research on Energy and Clear Air found.

The Biden administration argues the sanctions are working.

‘The US has rallied the world and imposing swift and significant economic costs. It will deny Putin the revenue he needs to finance his war. In this case, gold after energy is the second largest export for Russia and a source of significant revenue for for Putin and Russia,’ a senior administration official said.

The official went on to say the effect of the sanctions ‘is intended to be cumulative, not just in the moment, and we’re already seeing the extent to which sanctions are degrading the productive capacity of the Russian economy, particularly in sectors like technology, like defense, like other key important industries, and those impacts only accumulate over time such that Russia’s ability to wage war are going to decline over time as a result of the collective steps that the G7 has taken.’

Biden’s day will be spent in meetings, including lunches and dinners with G7 leaders. He’ll also participate in an official welcome ceremony and take a family photo.

The president arrived in Germany on a Saturday night to a red-carpet welcome – complete with flags flying and a band playing. A large group of people in traditional Bavarian dress greeted him, along with Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soder.

Two children, also in traditional dress, gave hm a bouquet of flowers.

Biden also signed the Golden Book of the Bavarian state government.

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