Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky ‘wants to end Russian invasion by end of year’

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Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky ‘wants to end Russian invasion by end of year’

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky told world leaders on Monday that he wants to end the war by the end of the year, according to diplomatic sources.

He stressed he wanted the conflict to be over before the country’s harsh winter hits.

Hundreds of thousands of people are struggling to survive in the eastern Donbas region of the country where Vladimir Putin is focusing his bloody military campaign.

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Freezing temperatures would make their plight even worse.

In words issued ahead of a video address to a G7 summit in Germany, he warned that delays in shipping more weapons could encourage Vladimir Putin to launch more attacks on Kyiv, as well as other towns and cities.

Buildings smouldered in Kyiv and the streets were covered in debris after Russian missiles struck the Ukrainian capital over the weekend. The attacks, the first on Kyiv in weeks, were condemned by US President Joe Biden as "barbarism".

Mr Zelensky said: “Leaders of the G7 who gathered in Germany for a summit have enough collective potential to stop Russian aggression against Ukraine and against Europe as a whole.

“This is possible.”

Earlier, Mr Biden told allies “we have to stay together” against Russia as they gathered for the summit dominated by war in Ukraine and its impact on food and energy supplies and the global economy.

“Putin has been counting on it from the beginning that somehow the NATO and the G7 would splinter. But we haven’t and we’re not going to,” Mr Biden said at the start of a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Boris Johnson has also been leading calls for western unity against Mr Putin’s invasion which started on February 24.

At the start of the meeting in the Bavarian Alps, four of the Group of Seven rich nations moved to ban imports of Russian gold to tighten the sanctions squeeze on Moscow and cut off its means of financing the invasion of Ukraine.

Britain, the United States, Japan and Canada agreed the ban on new Russian gold imports, the British government said on Sunday.

The UK said the ban was aimed at wealthy Russians who have been buying safe-haven bullion to reduce the financial impact of Western sanctions. Russian gold exports were worth $15.5 billion (£12.6b) last year.

The G7 leaders of Britain, France, the United States, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada, were also having “really constructive” talks on a possible price cap on Russian oil, a German government source said.

A French presidency official said Paris would push for a price cap on oil and gas and was open to discussing a US proposal.

The G7 leaders did agree on a pledge to raise $600 billion (£488b) in private and public funds for developing countries to counter China’s growing influence and soften the impact soaring food and energy prices.