Live updates | Spain’s king hosts NATO leaders’ gala dinner

Jun 27, 2022, 1:07 PM | Updated: Jun 28, 2022, 2:02 pm
Spain's King Felipe makes a speech next to U.S. President Joe Biden and and other heads of state an...

Spain's King Felipe makes a speech next to U.S. President Joe Biden and and other heads of state and dignitaries during a gala dinner at the Royal Palace in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday June 28, 2022. North Atlantic Treaty Organization heads of state will meet for a NATO summit in Madrid from Tuesday through Thursday. (Juanjo Martin/Pool photo via AP)

(Juanjo Martin/Pool photo via AP)

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:

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Russia’s war on Ukraine has dominated a gala dinner hosted by Spain’s King Felipe VI to welcome some 40 heads of state and government on the eve of the NATO summit in Madrid.

“War has returned to Europe,” he told guests Tuesday. “Russia’s unjustifiable aggression against Ukraine is a flagrant violation of the territorial integrity of a sovereign State. No country is unaffected by this war.”

U.S. President Joe Biden sat to the king’s right in the elaborately decorated dining room of the 18th century Royal Palace of Madrid.

Felipe said the palace had never had such a large number of world leaders together. In all, some 60 people were at the table.

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KEY DEVELOPMENTS:

— Turkey lifts objections to Sweden, Finland joining NATO ahead of alliance summit

— How a G-7 ban on Russian gold would work

— Zelenskyy tells G-7 summit Ukraine forces face urgent moment

— The AP Interview: Spanish PM says NATO summit to show unity

— Tale of 2 summits: ‘America’s back’ to America’s backsliding

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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS:

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson says Tuesday’s deal with Turkey on her country’s and Finland’s membership of NATO will bring “more security” to the alliance.

“It’s good for Finland and Sweden. And it’s good for NATO, because we would be security providers to NATO,” Andersson told The Associated Press.

She said completing the process of membership should be done “the sooner the better, not only for Sweden and Finland but for other NATO countries,” she said.

“But there are 30 parliaments that need to approve this and you never know,” Andersson added.

Asked if the Swedish public will see the agreement as a concession on issues like extraditions of Kurdish militants regarded by Ankara as terrorists, Andersson said Swedes “will see that this is good for the security of Sweden.”

Andersson said that her country’s contribution to the alliance will potentially be a strong military and navy. She said that Sweden is in the midst of the largest military buildup since the 1950s.

Andersson said she wasn’t too worried about Moscow’s reaction to Tuesday’s announcement: “Russia has reacted rather mildly so far,” Andersson said. “Maybe they see the fact that we have been a partner to NATO for quite some time … that maybe they don’t see this as quite such a big step.”

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A senior U.S. administration official says Washington did not offer any concessions to Turkey to coax it to accept the deal to drop its opposition to Finland and Sweden joining NATO.

The official said Tuesday that President Joe Biden made a deliberate choice to keep the U.S. from being a party to the negotiations or being in a position where Turkey could ask for inducements from the U.S. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the issue, said Turkey never asked the U.S. for anything as part of the talks.

But the official said the U.S. played a crucial role in helping bring the two parties closer together.

Biden spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Tuesday morning at the behest of Sweden and Finland to help encourage the talks. The leaders of Sweden and Finland reached out to Biden late Tuesday just before accepting the agreement.

By Zeke Miller in Madrid

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Turkey has agreed to lift its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, a breakthrough in an impasse clouding a leaders’ summit in Madrid amid Europe’s worst security crisis in decades triggered by the war in Ukraine.

After urgent top-level talks, alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said “we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted Sweden and Finland to abandon their long-held nonaligned status. But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had blocked the move, insisting the Nordic pair change their stance on Kurdish rebel groups that Turkey considers terrorists.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said the three countries’ leaders signed a joint agreement after talks on Tuesday.

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Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko has made a powerful plea for Western allies meeting in Madrid to provide his country with “whatever it takes” to stop the war in Ukraine.

“Wake up, guys. This is happening now. You are going to be next, this is going to be knocking on your door just in the blink of an eye,” Klitschko said Tuesday, addressing reporters at the venue in Madrid where NATO leaders are meeting.

Klitschko and his brother, Wladimir, were in Madrid on Tuesday to attend a defense think tank forum ahead of the 2-day summit.

Klitschko, who said he had no plans to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden at the NATO meeting, rejected the idea that Ukraine should make any territorial sacrifices to end the war.

“Bully the bully, it’s the only way how to stop it,” he said. “And in this case, Russia is the bully.”

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U.S. first Lady Jill Biden, accompanied by Spain’s Queen Letizia, has visited a welcome center for Ukrainian refugees in Madrid and talked with several young people staying there.

Speaking to CBS News, Biden said she had told Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska when she met her recently “that I would carry forth her message, that we supported her. And so, I’m continuing to meet with refugees no matter where I go.”

At the center, Biden and the queen looked at drawings by the refugees and talked with several of them.

Jill Biden flew to the Spanish capital late on Sunday while US President Joe Biden arrived on Tuesday to attend a NATO summit that starts Wednesday.

Biden said the first ladies of many countries were committed to helping Ukraine.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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..

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Live updates | Spain’s king hosts NATO leaders’ gala dinner