Live updates | UK urges NATO allies to up defense spending – Metro US

Live updates | UK urges NATO allies to up defense spending

NATO Summit Biden
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez listens as President Joe Biden speaks at the Palace of Moncloa in Madrid, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Biden will also be attending the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Madrid. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

MADRID (AP) — The Latest on the G-7 summit, the annual meeting of the leading democratic economies, which this year is being held in the Bavarian Alps in Germany; and on the NATO summit in Madrid, where leaders begin gathering later Tuesday:

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is urging other NATO allies to increase their military spending — but is being accused by his own defense minister of underfunding the U.K.’s armed forces.

Britain is among nine of the 30 NATO countries that meets the alliance’s target of spending at least 2% of Gross Domestic Product on defense. Johnson said Tuesday that the current figure is 2.3%, adding that he would be “having a conversation” about spending at this week’s NATO summit in Madrid.

But Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said the military had been underfunded for years by successive governments and had been fed “a diet of smoke and mirrors, hollowed-out formations and fantasy savings, when in the last few years threats from states have started to increase.”

Despite the increased spending, the size of Britain’s military is shrinking. The British Army is set to be cut from 82,000 troops to 72,500.

Wallace told a think tank conference in London that there is a risk Russia “will lash out against wider Europe” and “it is time to mobilize, be ready and be relevant.”


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The United States and Spain have issued a joint declaration condemning Russia for invading Ukraine, emphasizing their defense partnership through NATO and pledging to promote safe and orderly migration.

U.S. President Joe Biden is in Spain for the NATO summit. He met Tuesday with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

The four-page declaration says Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine “fundamentally altered the global strategic environment.” It adds that the “aggression constitutes the most direct threat to transatlantic security and global stability since the end of the Cold War.”

It says both countries will work to strengthen legal migration pathways, especially for people from the Caribbean and Latin America. The U.S. and Spain also recognize the importance of cooperating to address what the declaration calls “irregular” migration from North Africa — a pressing problem for Spain.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the military alliance will commit to reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 for its forces at this week’s summit in Madrid.

“NATO is determined to set the gold standard on discussing the security challenges of climate change,” Stoltenberg said Tuesday in Spain’s capital as world leaders arrived for two days of talks.

Stoltenberg says that NATO’s immediate goal will be reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of its military forces by 45% by 2030.

He said climate change is “a crisis multiplier,” so it matters for security.

WASHINGTON — The United States has announced new sanctions on 29 people and 70 Russian firms related to the Kremlin’s defense industry, as punishment for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The targeted companies include state-owned Rostec, a state-owned defense conglomerate, and its affiliated companies.

The move came in combination Tuesday with the Group of Seven announcement to ban imports of Russian gold, and price caps on Russian oil.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the sanctions will degrade Putin’s capabilities and further impede his war against Ukraine, which has already been plagued by poor morale, broken supply chains, and logistical failures.”

The mayor of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko and his brother, Wladimir, are in Madrid and have met Spain’s King Felipe VI at a NATO Public Forum debate on the eve of the NATO summit in the Spanish capital.

The two brothers were in the audience when the king made his address to the forum Tuesday and met the monarch as he left.

The king said their presence was “a very pleasant surprise” and that he had conveyed to them Spain’s “support and our deep thoughts and friendship with your nation, with your people.”

The brothers, both former heavyweight boxing champions, work together to keep Kyiv running during the ongoing war with Russia.

NATO has invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the summit, but it is expected that he will appear only by video conference.

Italian Premier Mario Draghi says a U.N. plan to bring grain out of Ukraine via safe sea corridors could save as much as a month in emptying silos in time for the autumn harvest, since it doesn’t require demining ports.

Draghi said a briefing that G-7 leaders received from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the plan was “one of the most important” of the summit and was, “all in all, good news.” But he said it requires Russia’s swift approval.

Draghi said Tuesday the key elements of the plan involve using existing safe corridors in and out of ports, ensuring cargo ships are protected by the U.N. from possible Russian attacks, and that the ships are then inspected to prevent weapons from arriving. Draghi said Putin had insisted on this.

He said Russia had in principle accepted the three-part involvement in the project of Ukraine, Turkey and the U.N..

Russia’s state space corporation Roscosmos marked the gathering of leaders for the NATO summit by publishing satellite images and the precise coordinates of a conference hall in Madrid where it’s being held.

It also published on its messaging app channel Tuesday the coordinates of the White House, the Pentagon and of government headquarters in London, Paris and Berlin.

It described them as the “decision-making centers supporting the Ukrainian nationalists” – a reference to Western nations’ support for Kyiv in the face of Russia’s invasion.

The corporation noted that NATO allies were set to declare Russia an enemy at their summit in Madrid, adding that it was publishing precise coordinates “just in case.”

Italian Premier Mario Draghi says G-7 leaders were concerned about Russian advances in eastern Ukraine but that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was optimistic about Ukraine’s ability to mount a successful counterattack.

Zelenskyy addressed the Group of Seven meeting via video link.

“One of the things that President Zelenskyy told us was that a counter-offensive would be starting, which he was confident would succeed,” Draghi said.

Asked about reported doubts from the White House, Draghi said: “It’s not so much doubts expressed by President (Joe) Biden as concern for the Russian progress that has taken place. I can’t say anything more on this.”

Italian Premier Mario Draghi says the Indonesian presidency of the Group of 20 nations has ruled out in-person participation by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the November meeting of the group in Bali.

The Nov. 15-16 summit risked awkward diplomatic encounters if Putin were to have come. The Kremlin had said earlier that Putin intended to go.

But Draghi, whose country held the G-20 presidency before handing it off to Indonesia, said Tuesday the G-7 had rallied to support Indonesian President Joko Widodo to organize a successful summit.

Asked about the Kremlin’s announcement that Putin would participate, Draghi said: “President Widodo excludes it. He was categorical: (Putin) is not coming. What might happen — I don’t know what will happen but what might happen is perhaps a remote intervention.”

French President Emmanuel Macron is calling on oil-producing countries to boost output and thereby lower world prices pushed up by the war in Ukraine.

He said Tuesday the prices are putting European economies in an “untenable” situation.

Speaking at the end of a G-7 summit in Germany on Tuesday, Macron welcomed the group’s discussions on a price cap for oil as “a very good idea,” but added: “The difficulty is technical.”

He said it’s crucial to include all major oil-buying countries in any cap agreement for it to be effective.

Macron said he discussed boosting oil production with the president of the United Arab Emirates, and expressed hope that U.S. President Joe Biden gets a “positive response” in talks about oil in an upcoming visit to Saudi Arabia.

Macron said oil producers have an “immense responsibility given our collective dependence on them.”

He called for expanding Europe’s liquefied natural gas processing capacity and lashed out at speculation by energy traders he called “war profiteers.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called NATO plans to boost its rapid reaction force “measured and proportional” and not meant to provoke Russia.

Speaking Tuesday at the end of a G-7 summit in Germany and before traveling to Spain for a NATO summit, Trudeau said Canada, is “committed to making sure we continue to stand up against Russian threats and Russian posturing.”

According to the government, about 1,400 Canadian troops are currently deployed in central and eastern Europe as part of NATO assurance and deterrence measures.

“The response that we are taking to Russia’s illegal actions is measured and proportional,” he said, adding it should not be considered a “provocative” move.

“We are looking at ensuring that Russia knows we will be there to defend democracies,” Trudeau said.

French President Emmanuel Macron says Russia “cannot and should not” win the war in Ukraine, a day after a Russian missile strike killed 18 people at a Ukrainian shopping mall.

Speaking at the end of the Group of Seven summit in Germany on Tuesday, Macron said the seven developed economies have devised a plan to support Ukraine and maintain sanctions against Russia “as long as necessary, and with the necessary intensity.”

As fighting in Ukraine rages into the fifth month, Macron said it’s not clear when the war will end but the goal of Western democracies is, “Russia must not win.”

His comments came as rescuers searched through the charred rubble of the shopping mall. Macron called the attack a war crime.

MADRID — NATO’s chief says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked a “fundamental shift” in the alliance’s defense policy, and NATO members will have to invest more in military spending in what is now a more unstable world.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg spoke as the alliance’s leaders began gathering Tuesday in Madrid for a summit that will set the course of the alliance for the coming years.

Stoltenberg said the meeting would chart a blueprint for the alliance “in a more dangerous and unpredictable word.”

Top of the agenda is strengthening defenses against Russia and supporting Ukraine in its fight against Moscow’s invasion.

Stoltenberg said “we hope to make progress” at the gathering in breaking a logjam over applications by Sweden and Finland to join the alliance. Turkey is blocking the move and says the Nordic pair must change their stance on Kurdish rebel groups that Turkey considers terrorists.

The three countries’ leaders are due to meet in Madrid, alongside Stoltenberg, later Tuesday.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is defending the decision by Group of Seven leaders to soften their commitments on ending public support for fossil fuel investments.

The leaders say the war in Ukraine means time-limited support for new natural gas extraction projects may be necessary.

The G-7 nations said in a statement Tuesday at the end of their three-day summit that “in these exceptional circumstances, publicly supported investment in the gas sector can be appropriate as a temporary response.”

That contrasts in part with a previous pledge made last month by G-7 climate ministers, who said that the seven major economies would “align official international financing with the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

Environmental campaigners, scientists and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have spoken out against any additional fossil fuel investments by rich, developed nations.

But Scholz told reporters that “gas will be needed temporarily and that is why there may be investments that make sense, in this transitional phase, and that therefore may need to be supported.”

One of the arguments made by German officials in favor of supporting new natural gas development projects is that it could spare them having to burn more polluting coal to meet their energy needs.

Environmental groups argue that building additional pipelines and other infrastructure for surging U.S. LNG exports to Europe and for other fossil fuels will lock in increased carbon use for years to come.

Members of the Group of Seven major democratic economies have vowed to create a new ‘climate club’ for nations wanting to take more ambitious steps on global warming.

The move, championed by G-7 summit host German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, will see countries that join the club agree on tougher measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) this century compared to pre-industrial times.

Countries that are part of the club will seek to harmonize their measures so that they are comparable and avoid members imposing climate-related tariffs on each others’ imports.

Speaking at the end of a three-day G-7 summit, Scholz said the aim was to “ensure that protecting the climate is a competitive advantage, not a disadvantage.”

He said details of the planned climate club would be finalized this year.

Leaders of the world’s wealthiest democracies have taken a united stance to support Ukraine for “as long as necessary,” as Russia’s invasion of its neighbor grinds on for a fifth month.

The final statement from the Group of Seven summit in Germany said Tuesday the countries would “explore” far-reaching steps to cap Kremlin income from oil sales that are financing the war in Ukraine.

The statement left out key details on how the fossil fuel prices caps would work in practice, setting up more discussion in the weeks ahead to assess measures on barring the import of Russian oil above a certain amount.

That would hit a key Russian source of income and, in theory, ease the energy price spikes afflicting the global economy as a result of the war.

Leaders also agreed to a ban on imports of Russian gold and to step up aid to countries hard hit with food shortages by the blockage on Ukraine grain shipments through the Black Sea.

Unity in the seven democracies’ confrontation with Putin was a key theme of the summit at a luxury resort in the Bavarian Alps.

The G-7 countries have set aside $29.5 in Ukraine assistance this year, on top of $60 billion since Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014.

Group of Seven leaders have agreed to spend $4.5 billion on addressing food security issues around the globe exacerbated by rising grain and food costs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The White House said Tuesday that the United States is pitching in $2.76 billion toward the effort. The funding will be used to assist 47 countries and regional organizations dealing with food insecurity and malnutrition.

The White House says the most immediate needs are in the Horn of Africa, where the Russian blockade of grain from Ukraine has worsened an already desperate situation. The Horn of Africa is experiencing a fourth straight season of drought, with as many as 20 million facing the threat of starvation by year’s end, the White House says.

The Biden administration said in a statement that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions “have strangled food and agriculture production and have used food as a weapon of war.”

ISTANBUL — Turkey’s president says he spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday morning and may meet with him at this week’s NATO summit in Spain.

The White House said Biden “looks forward” to seeing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Madrid.

Erdogan told a press conference in Ankara ahead of his departure to Spain that Biden “expressed his desire to get together again tonight or tomorrow and we said ‘possible.’”

Erdogan said the pair would discuss Turkey’s requests for upgraded F-16s but said there were “diversionary tactics” at play. He didn’t elaborate.

Erdogan is infuriated by U.S. military bases in Greece and says the U.S. has been fixated on Turkey’s purchase of Russian-made S-400 missiles — a step that led to Ankara being kicked off the F-35 stealth jet program.

Erdogan confirmed he plans to meet with the leaders of Sweden and Finland, along with NATO’s secretary general, to continue discussions on Turkey’s objections to the two Nordic countries’ NATO membership bids.

Ankara has objected to Sweden and Finland’s bid to join NATO, citing what it considers to be their lax approach toward groups Turkey deems national security threats, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, and its Syrian extension. American support for Syrian Kurdish fighters in combatting the Islamic State group has also enraged Turkey for years.