*** ----> Zelensky warns G7 against 'collapse' of Western unity | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Zelensky warns G7 against 'collapse' of Western unity

AFP | Kyiv                                                      

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told G7 leaders Wednesday that Russia had ramped up pressure on the front lines and warned Moscow was counting on Western unity to "collapse" next year.

The virtual G7 meeting, attended by Kyiv's key allies including US President Joe Biden and UK leader Rishi Sunak, comes amid fears Western support for Ukraine could wane as it makes limited progress on the battlefield.

"Russia hopes only for one thing -- that next year the free world's consolidation will collapse," Zelensky said, warning President Vladimir Putin had "significantly increased pressure on the front".

"We must win the battle for motivation. The motivation of our people and all of Europe. The ongoing battle is not just about the fate of Ukraine, it's about Europe," Zelensky told the leaders.

He also called on EU members to "fulfil" their promise of opening membership talks with Kyiv, as the 27-member bloc geared up for a summit next week.

The European Commission recommended opening formal membership negotiations with Ukraine in November, but talks cannot officially start unless all member states agree.

Despite a Ukrainian counteroffensive that has employed billions of dollars' worth of Western weapons, the front lines in the 21-month conflict have barely shifted in more than a year.

Attacks along the front have meanwhile intensified, including around the strategically important town of Avdiivka.

In a statement following the G7 meeting, leaders said they were "determined" to support Ukraine and find further ways to cap Russia's ability to fund the war.

They also announced new restrictions limiting the import of Russian diamonds from next year, and said they would "tighten" enforcement of the Russian oil price cap.

"As Russia seeks to use winter as a weapon against the Ukrainian people, we are increasing our efforts to provide humanitarian aid and critical energy assistance," they added.