HIROSHIMA, Japan — The G7 Leaders’ Summit kicked off on Friday in Hiroshima with Canada joining other members to announce new sanctions on Russia, as well as new funding to guard against the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Leaders of G7 countries released a joint statement on Friday reaffirming their support for Ukraine and announcing further sanctions on Russia, before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy joins them in person on Sunday.
“We are renewing our commitment to provide the financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support Ukraine requires for as long as it takes,” the statement says.
“We are imposing further sanctions and measures to increase the costs to Russia and those who are supporting its war effort.”
In short remarks made to media earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced what new sanctions Canada would be imposing.
“Today, Canada’s announcing more than 70 new sanctions focused on people who are supporting Russia’s illegal military action and complicit in human rights violations,” he said.
“Canada will continue to be there to support Ukraine and support international rules based order.
The Prime Minister’s Office said the sanctions are on “17 individuals and 18 entities linked to Russian companies that provide military technology and know-how to Russia’s armed forces, family members of listed persons, and members of the Kremlin elite.”
Sanctions will also be applied on 30 individuals and eight entities “involved in Russia’s ongoing human rights violations, including the transfer and custody of Ukrainian children in Russia.”
In addition to the sanctions, nuclear disarmament was another theme of the summit on Friday, as leaders look to address geopolitical threats from countries such as China, Russia and North Korea.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who represents Hiroshima in parliament, wants nuclear disarmament to be a major focus of discussions, and he formally started the summit at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park.
The visit by world leaders to a park dedicated to preserving reminders of Aug. 6, 1945, when a U.S. B-29 dropped an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, provided a striking backdrop to the start the summit.
On Friday, G7 nations took the opportunity to also condemn Russia for its nuclear rhetoric and threats to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus.
“Threats by Russia of nuclear weapon use, let alone any use of nuclear weapons by Russia, in the context of its aggression against Ukraine are inadmissible,” a joint statement on nuclear proliferation reads.
Canada announced $15 million to help the international community monitor and respond to North Korean weapon of mass destruction programs.
It also announced an additional $4 million for the International Atomic Energy Agency to help verify and monitor Iran’s nuclear commitments.
Trudeau also met with leaders, sharing their common goals — and differences.
In his meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni,Trudeau spoke out against the Italian government’s stance on LGBTQ rights.
“Obviously, Canada is concerned about some of the (positions) that Italy is taking in terms of LGBT rights,” Trudeau told Meloni at the start of the meeting on Friday morning.
“But I look forward to talking with you about that.”
The comments were made at the start of the meeting, prior to media being ushered out of the room.
In March, gay rights activists denounced as homophobic moves by Meloni’s far-right-led government to limit recognition of parental rights to the biological parent only in families with same-sex parents.
In a move that would impact hundreds of families, the government told the city of Milan to stop automatically recording both parents in same-sex couples on city registers.
It was the last major city to continue the practice that had been briefly adopted in Rome, Turin, Naples and elsewhere after Italy’s high court in 2016 made it easier for gay people to adopt a partner’s biological child.
In a readout of the meeting sent out by the Prime Minister’s Office, it says the leaders “exchanged views on the importance of protecting and defending human rights, including the rights of 2SLGBTQI+ people.”
“Prime Minister Meloni responded that her government is following court decisions and is not deviating from previous administrations,” the summary said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 19, 2023.
— With files from The Associated Press.
Nojoud Al Mallees, The Canadian Press