Biden, Zelensky to sign long-term security agreement at G7 summit

Italy, Jun 13 (IANS/DPA): US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will sign a bilateral security agreement between the US and Ukraine on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy on Thursday.

Biden's National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan announced the deal to journalists on Wednesday during the flight to Italy, which is hosting the two-day summit of G7 leaders near the southern city of Bari.

Fifteen countries have already concluded similar long-term security agreements with Ukraine, including Britain, France and Germany.

Sullivan said the Biden administration's negotiations with Kiev have now been finalised.

He did not give any concrete details about the content of the agreement, which he described as a "framework" for how the two countries work together to address security issues.

However, he emphasised that the pact would not include the obligation for Washington to deploy US troops to Ukraine, nor would it contain commitments to supply specific weapons systems.

"Our goal here is straightforward," Sullivan said.

"We want to demonstrate that the US supports the people of Ukraine, that we stand with them, and that will continue to help address their security needs, not just tomorrow, but out into the future."

He also indicated that the agreement would state that the White House would work with US Congress to find a way to provide "sustainable" support for Ukraine.

The Biden adviser said the security deals Kiev is negotiating help serve as a "bridge" until Ukraine's "ultimate membership in NATO".

The US also said it was imposing sanctions on more than 300 individuals and entities connected to Russia's war on Ukraine, including financial institutions, the Moscow Stock Exchange and Chinese companies.

The latest set of sanctions is chiefly focused on trade, finance and industry.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the sanctions hit "across multiple sectors essential to Russia's war effort," including energy, metals and mining production.

China was singled out for its support of Moscow.

"The US remains concerned by the scale and breadth of exports from China that supply Russia's military-industrial base," Blinken's statement said.

To that end, the US is sanctioning Chinese companies that provide duel-use goods that "fill critical gaps in Russia's defence production cycle," he added.

It is not just China, however.

Individuals and organisations in countries elsewhere in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean are also subject to new restrictive measures.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Russia "is deeply isolated from the international financial system, leaving the Kremlin's military desperate for access to the outside world".

She added that the sanctions go after critical supplies Russia needs from other countries.

Several Russian banks also saw their foreign locations put on blacklists to make it harder for financial transactions to be fulfilled.

Other corners of Russia's financial infrastructure were hit, including the Moscow Stock Exchange and two subsidiaries, and insurance and reinsurance providers.

The US Treasury Department said it was trying to choke off military supply chains by sanctioning dozens of individuals and entities in a slew of countries, besides Russia and China.

Some of the newly listed targets will help close sanction loopholes or go after evaders, it added.



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Title: Biden, Zelensky to sign long-term security agreement at G7 summit

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