The three-day summit of the Group of Seven (G-7) industrialised countries which concluded in Germany on Tuesday was marked by a strong display of unity, but was short on decisive action to deal with the most pressing problems of the day, including strengthening the sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, food security and climate change. The unity was in contrast to other recent G-7 summits where there were sharp differences, particularly between the United States and European members, on such issues as steel and aluminium tariffs, aircraft subsidies and even the future of Nato.
But Russia's war on Ukraine, which dominated the agenda this year, was met with unanimity in support for Ukraine and commitments towards further military and humanitarian aid. And Nato has been re-energised and is on the verge of expansion, with Sweden and Finland set to join the alliance. But on the issue of strengthening the sanctions on Russia - which are deemed critical to preventing it from sustaining its aggression against Ukraine - there was incremental progress at best. As draconian as they are, the sanctions targeting Russia's economy, its energy exports, and central bank reserves have been less than effective in blunting Moscow's ability to finance its war. Indeed, thanks to the resulting increase in oil and gas prices as well as its ability to continue trading with countries not participating in the sanctions, Russia's earnings from energy exports have remained buoyant.