Officials said the West is focused on how it can help the inhabitants of Ukrainian towns survive the winter

From left, Britain's James Cleverly, Italy's Antonio Tajani, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, France's Catherine Colonna và Germany's Annalena Baerbock on Friday during a meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers in Münster, Germany. (Rolf Vennenbernd/DPA/AP)
MÜNSTER, Germany — vị trí cao nhất diplomats from the world’s major industrialized democracies agreed on Friday lớn combine efforts lớn help Ukraine repair and defend its energy và water infrastructure, which has come under relentless attack by Russian cruise missiles & self-detonating drones.

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The plan to lớn fortify Ukraine ahead of the punishing winter months was cemented on the second day of Group of Seven meetings here in this historic German city. The symbolic importance of the meeting place — the same venue in which the Treaty of Westphalia was signed ending the Thirty Years’ War — was underscored by some of the attending diplomats, who said Russia’s invasion challenged the world order those centuries-old accords helped establish.

“If we let that be challenged with impunity, then the foundations of the international order will start to erode & eventually crumble, & none of us can afford khổng lồ let that happen,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in remarks alongside German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

The G-7 statement signed by each nation announced the establishment of a “coordination mechanism” to help Ukraine “repair, restore and defend its critical energy & water infrastructure.” It did not phối a timeline for implementation, but diplomats attending the sự kiện said it was important khổng lồ act immediately given the onset of winter.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “seems to have decided if he can’t seize Ukraine by force, he will try to freeze it into submission,” Blinken told reporters at a news conference.

The meetings of ministers from the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Japan, Canada & Italy also included discussions on providing Ukraine sophisticated air defense systems to lớn fend off volleys of Russian missile & drone strikes, officials said.

The decision to fortify Ukraine’s infrastructure followed a remote đoạn phim briefing from Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday that was disrupted by a blackout due to chronic energy shortages.

Once the connection was reestablished, Kuleba finished updating the countries on the extensive damage done to Ukraine’s infrastructure by Iranian-provided drones và appealed for more global tư vấn and pressure on Russia. Forty percent of Ukraine’s power system has been damaged by Russian attacks that have left 4.5 million people throughout the country without power, including 450,000 residents in Kyiv.

“They discussed what needs Ukraine was facing as it heads into the winter,” said a senior State Department official who, lượt thích some others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity khổng lồ discuss sensitive deliberations surrounding the war. “That’s something that will be a core focus of this group in the days và weeks ahead.”

A French official said the West is focused on how it can help the inhabitants of Ukrainian towns survive the winter, by providing generators, fuel & spare parts to lớn areas struggling lớn meet their energy and heating needs.

The discussion came at what could be another inflection point for the war. While some U.S. Officials question Ukraine’s ability to lớn completely oust Russia from occupied areas, Ukrainian forces continue to make battlefield gains, including around the southern city of Kherson, which Russia has occupied for months.

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The next few weeks there are expected lớn be dynamic, a U.S. Defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity khổng lồ detail internal assessments, said this week. Russian military leaders have withdrawn to the eastern bank of the Dnieper River, outside Kherson, leaving rank-and-file troops lớn face Ukrainian assaults. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters Thursday that Ukraine “certainly” has the capability to lớn take back all territory west of the river.

On Friday, the Pentagon disclosed that it will pay to lớn refurbish 45 Czech T-72 tanks and send them lớn Ukraine, part of a new $400 million military aid package that also includes drones, air defense missiles, riverine boats and money lớn refurbish M1117 armored vehicles. The Netherlands also pay khổng lồ refurbish and send an additional 45 Czech tanks.

Work is ongoing khổng lồ send Ukraine other weapons, both from the United States và allies in Europe. Ukraine is expected to lớn need a significant amount of artillery going forward as it launches between 4,000 & 7,000 rounds per day, the U.S. Defense official said, putting the Russian figure at about 20,000.

In Germany, the group of democracies strongly warned Russia against using nuclear weapons in Ukraine and rejected Moscow’s claims that Ukraine was preparing khổng lồ detonate a “dirty bomb.”

“Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric is unacceptable,” the statement said. “Any use of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons by Russia would be met with severe consequences.”

Russia’s claims about a dirty bomb first emerged late last month, triggering phone calls among U.S. Officials, allies và Russian leaders. Concerns about the issue have “tamped down a bit” since then, the U.S. Defense official said.

The unease over Russia’s nuclear rhetoric was evident Friday in Beijing, where German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urged China’s president, Xi Jinping, khổng lồ use his “influence” over Putin khổng lồ help resolve the war. Xi said nations should “oppose the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons,” but he called the international situation “complex” and urged all nations khổng lồ “exercise rationality và restraint.”

Reacting lớn Xi’s remarks, Baerbock, the German foreign minister, said she was “pleased to hear” an important ally of Russia send a “very important signal” against the potential use of nuclear weapons. “Russia,” she said, “is totally isolated.”

Still, Scholz’s trip to đài loan trung quốc has divided Western countries, some of whom have complained that Germany is repeating the mistakes it made ahead of the war in Ukraine by becoming overly dependent on the business of an authoritarian regime.

While U.S. And British officials have raised concerns about the visit, the first by a G-7 leader since Xi cemented his nguồn at the ruling-party congress, other Western officials have warned against taking an explicitly antagonistic approach to Beijing.

“It is clear that trung quốc is … becoming much more assertive, much more on a self-reliant course,” Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, told reporters at the G-7. “But for the time being, many member states have a strong economic relationship with China, và I don’t think we can put china and Russia on the same level.”

In the negotiated G-7 statement, the countries said they aim for “constructive cooperation with China” but also warned Beijing against trying to resolve disputes through “threats, coercion, intimidation, or the use of force.”

The meeting comes as G-7 nations finalize the details of a price cap on Russian oil. The unprecedented plan could deprive Russia of oil revenue critical lớn funding the Kremlin’s war machine. But the complex arrangement also runs the risk of increasing gas prices.

When asked whether he could assure that the move would not increase gas prices, Blinken said that “we’ll see how this plays out” but that he believed the plan under negotiation would keep enough energy on the market while reducing revenue to the Kremlin.

On Friday, G-7 countries held meetings on challenges that Central Asian countries are facing as a result of the war in Ukraine. They are also focusing on collaboration with African countries on climate change, the coronavirus, and food và energy security, the U.S. Official said.

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