G7 says to back Ukraine 'as long as it takes': Draft statement

His remarks came as leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations met in Italy and as Switzerland prepared to host scores of world leaders, but not from Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, Russia, Friday, June 14, 2024.
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, Russia, Friday, June 14, 2024.AP Photo

BARI: G7 leaders committed Friday to support Ukraine "for as long as it takes", according to a draft statement from a summit where they agreed a new $50 billion loan for Kyiv.

"We are standing in solidarity to support Ukraine's fight for freedom and its reconstruction for as long as it takes," said the draft from the Italy talks, seen by news agency AFP.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised Friday to “immediately” order a cease-fire in Ukraine and begin negotiations if Kyiv started withdrawing troops from the four regions annexed by Moscow in 2022 and renounced plans to join NATO.

Such a deal appears a nonstarter for Kyiv, which wants to join the military alliance and has demanded that Russia withdraw its troops from all of its territory. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine on Putin's proposal.

“We will do it immediately,” Putin said in a speech at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow.

(With inputs from AFP and AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting at the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow, Russia, Friday, June 14, 2024.
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