G7 summit 2022: Four takeaways from Biden's trip
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RELATED: Biden says the Group of Seven leading economies will ban imports of gold from RussiaUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the group he wanted the conflict to be over by year's end. But Russian strikes on civilian targets in Ukraine -- including residential buildings and a shopping mall -- sent a clear message to the summit: Russian President Vladimir Putin is not backing down.Here are four takeaways from Biden's first major summit of his latest international trip:
The war in Ukraine has brought Western leaders together in condemning Russia and applying punishing sanctions. But as the war enters its fifth month, the economic consequences of isolating Russia are being felt in high gas prices, a major political liability. Meanwhile, momentum in the war appears to be favoring Russia, CNN reported.Reversing those parallel trends was the principal objective of this year's G7 summit. Leaders committed to new security assistance for Ukraine, including a new missile defense system from the United States, the same model used to defend the airspace in Washington, DC. Ammunition and radar systems are also expected in the latest shipment.But another shipment of arms isn't likely to bring an end to the war. Without a clear path to a battlefield victory, leaders have been left wondering how much longer the fighting will last -- and, by extension, how much longer the economic consequences of the war will drag down the global economy.Zelensky's remarks to the group on Monday provided at least his view of the matter: He wants the war ended by the time winter rolls around. He pressed the group to support a major military offensive to take back the initiative against Russia."Zelensky was very much focused on trying to ensure that Ukraine is in as advantageous a position on the battlefield as possible in the next months as opposed to the next years, because he believes that a grinding conflict is not in the interest of the Ukrainian people," US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said after the meeting.The West's withering set of sanctions on Russia has taken a dramatic toll. On Monday, the country defaulted on its foreign debt for the first time since the Bolshevik revolution more than a century ago.The White House said the default showed the power of Western sanctions imposed on Russia since it invaded Ukraine. At the G7 this week, leaders slapped on new measures, including a ban on importing new Russian gold.At the same time, the sanctions have inflicted pain on Americans through higher gas prices, an effect of global bans on importing Russian energy.Targeting Russian energy has been a point of contention since the start of the war. And the complexities of going after one of the world's largest producers have been borne out in the following months. As Americans and Europeans are suffering high gas prices, Moscow is still reaping massive revenues from its oil exports -- due in part to the skyrocketing prices.A plan from US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen seeks to reverse that. Over the past several months, she has pressed G7 nations to apply a price cap on Russian oil, limiting the amount of money Russia makes from the places it is still exporting.Leaders agreed to the idea at the summit this week. But the precise mechanism for doing so remains undecided. Officials said they were confident Western nations wield enough leverage through their transportation and distribution networks to enforce the caps.How and when to engage Putin had divided some of the G7 leaders, who have sometimes aired differences of opinion on whether the time is right to pursue a negotiated settlement or to push ahead for a decisive victory on the battlefield.British Prime Minister Boris Johnson entered the talks this week vowing to rally the leaders behind a plan to help Zelensky sustain the fight. And while French President Emmanuel Macron had previously warned against "humiliating" Putin, he appeared to come into agreement with Johnson on support for Ukraine after meeting at the G7.Biden, meanwhile, has pledged billions of dollars in security assistance to Ukraine. His main goal appears to be keeping Western leaders aligned in their objectives at moments when fractures begin emerging."We have to stay together, because Putin has been counting on since the beginning that somehow the G7 or NATO would somehow splinter but we haven't and we are not going to," he said when meeting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. "We can't let this aggression take the form it has and get away with it."As the G7 concluded, it did not appear the leaders had come to any consensus on when to renew their attempts at negotiating with Putin. But the Russian leader was still very much on leaders' minds as they sat down to a working lunch Sunday."We have to show that we're tougher than Putin," Johnson told the group as he sat down.Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a suggestion: "Barechested horseback ride," he said, as the leaders chuckled.On his first day at the summit, Biden told reporters the Supreme Court decision from two days earlier overturning Roe v. Wade hadn't come up at the G7 summit.But for his fellow leaders, it was a troubling signal from the United States. European Union Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said that "many voices" at the G7 summit were left "very sad and very worried" by the decision."We have discussed gender equality and indeed, there were many voices, very sad and very worried," von der Leyen said when asked by CNN's Christiane Amanpour about the Supreme Court decision.Johnson, in an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, called the ruling a "backward step."Biden has decried the decision and vowed to explore ways to protect access to abortion. He and his aides have framed the ruling as a major step back for women's rights, and gender equality was one of the themes of this year's G7, where leaders dedicated an entire working session to the subject.Yet during the customary family photos and working meals, the lack of gender equality among the group -- eight men and one woman -- was striking. It was the first time in 16 years without a nationally elected woman in the group.
The video featured is from a related report.
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- People are using deepfake technology to pose as someone else in job interviews, the FBI said.
- They seem to focus on IT roles that would grant them access to sensitive data, the agency said.
- Anti-deepfake technologies are still not foolproof, but there are simple ways to detect deepfakes.
More and more people are using deepfake technology to pose as someone else in interviews for remote jobs, the FBI said on Tuesday.
In its public announcement, the FBI said it has received an uptick in complaints about people superimposing videos, images, or audio recordings of another person onto themselves during live job interviews. The complaints were tied to remote tech roles that would have granted successful candidates access to sensitive data, including "customer PII (Personally Identifiable Information), financial data, corporate IT databases and/or proprietary information," the agency said.
Deepfake videos could be used for entertaining purposes, but they could also be extremely harmful. In March, Meta said it removed a deepfake video that claimed to show Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy demanding Ukrainian forces to lay down their arms amid Russia's invasion.
Equally concerning is the harm that private individuals could face from being targeted by deepfakes, as in the cases highlighted by the FBI on Tuesday. "The use of the technology to harass or harm private individuals who do not command public attention and cannot command resources necessary to refute falsehoods should be concerning," the Department of Home Security warned in a 2019 report about deepfake technology.
Fraudulent applicants for tech jobs are nothing new. In a November 2020 LinkedIn post, one recruiter wrote that some candidates hire external help to assist them during the interviews in real time, and that the trend seems to have gotten worse during the pandemic. In May, recruiters found that North Korean scammers were posing as American job interviewees for crypto and Web3 startups.
What's new in the FBI's Tuesday announcement is the use of AI-powered deepfake technology to help people get hired. The FBI did not say how many incidents it has recorded.
Anti-deepfake technologies are far from perfect
In 2020, the number of known online deepfake videos reached 145,227, nine times more than a year earlier, according to a 2020 report by Sentinel, an Estonian threat-intelligence agency.
Technologies and processes that weed out deepfake videos are far from foolproof. A report from Sensity, a threat-intelligence company based in Amsterdam, found that 86% of the time, anti-deepfake technologies accepted deepfakes videos as real.
However, there are some telltale signs of deepfakes, including abnormal blinking, an unnaturally soft focus around skin or hair, and unusual lighting.
In its announcement, the FBI also offered a tip for spotting voice deepfake technology. "In these interviews, the actions and lip movement of the person seen interviewed on-camera do not completely coordinate with the audio of the person speaking. At times, actions such as coughing, sneezing, or other auditory actions are not aligned with what is presented visually," the agency wrote.
The FBI said people or companies who have identified deepfake attempts should report it the cases to its complaint website.
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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday of becoming “a terrorist” leading a “terrorist state” and urged Russia’s expulsion from the United Nations.
In a virtual address to the U.N. Security Council, Zelenskyy urged the U.N. to establish an international tribunal to investigate “the actions of Russian occupiers on Ukrainian soil” and to hold the country accountable.
“We need to act urgently to do everything to make Russia stop the killing spree,” Zelenskyy said, warning that otherwise Russia’s “terrorist activity” will spread to other European countries and Asia, singling out the Baltic states, Poland, Moldova and Kazakhstan.
“Putin has become a terrorist,” he said. “Daily terrorist acts, without weekends. Every day they are working as terrorists.”
In urging Russia’s ouster from the 193-member United Nations, Zelenskyy cited Article 6 of the U.N. Charter which states that a member “which has persistently violated the principles contained in the present Charter may be expelled from the organization by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council.”
Russia’s expulsion, however, is virtually impossible. That’s because as a permanent council member Russia would be able to use its veto to block any attempt to oust it.
Ukraine called the council meeting after Russia’s recent upsurge in attacks including Monday’s fiery airstrike on a crowded shopping mall in the central city of Kremenchuk that Zelenskyy said killed at least 18 people and wounded 30 others. “Dozens are missing” and body fragments have been found including hands and feet, he said, adding that unfortunately there may be more victims.
The Ukrainian leader began his speech listing Russia’s attacks in recent days and giving the first names and ages of many of the victims. He ended his address asking the 15 Security Council members and others in the chamber to stand in silent tribute to commemorate the “tens of thousands” of Ukrainian children and adults killed in the war.
All members rose including Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador Dmitry Polyansky.
When he took the floor later, Polyansky protested against giving Zelenskyy a second opportunity to address the Security Council, a decision by Albanian which holds the council presidency this month.
The Russian envoy said the Ukrainian president’s video address violated the council’s traditions and existing practices which state that leaders who wish to speak to the council must be present in the chamber.
“The U.N. Security Council should not be turned into a platform for a remote PR campaign from president Zelenskyy in order to get more weapons from participants at the NATO summit” starting Wednesday in Madrid, Polyansky said.
He claimed that there was no Russian strike on the shopping center in Kremenchuk, saying Russian precision weapons struck hangars in the Kremenchuk road machinery plant with weapons and ammunition from the United States and Europe destined for Ukrainian troops in eastern Donbass.
The shopping center was some distance away but the detonation of ammunition “created a fire which then spread to the shopping center,” Polyansky said.
The Russian envoy told Western nations that by supplying weapons to Ukraine they were prolonging the time when Ukraine’s leaders “will sit down at the negotiating table with a realistic position rather than with slogans.”
“We began a special military operation in order to stop the shelling of Donbass by Ukraine and so that the territory of this country, which has been turned into anti-Russia at the behest of a number of Western countries, as well as its nationalist leadership, ceases to pose a threat to Russia or the inhabitants of the south and southeast of Ukraine,” he said. “And until those goals are achieved, our operation will continue.”
U.S. deputy ambassador Richard Mills, like many other Western ambassadors, accused Russia of destroying the shopping center, saying the attack “fits into a cruel pattern, one where the Russian military kills civilians and destroys civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.”
He stressed that there is ample publicly available evidence “that Russia, and Russia alone” is responsible for this and other attacks.
Leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) major democracies called a Russian missile strike on a crowded shopping center in Ukraine on June 27 a war crime and vowed to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable.
The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States, meeting on the second day of a summit in Germany, issued a statement after 15 people were reportedly killed and 50 wounded in the attack in the central city of Kremenchuk.
"Indiscriminate attacks on innocent civilians constitute a war crime," the leaders said in the statement, adding that they "solemnly condemn the abominable attack" in Kremenchuk.
An earlier Russian missile strike in Lysychansk on June 27 killed eight and wounded 21 others, said Serhiy Hayday, the head of the military administration of Luhansk where Lysychansk is located. Lysychansk is the last big city still held by Ukraine in the eastern Luhansk region. Ukraine immediately called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. A spokesman for the Albanian mission, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council, said it would take place on June 28.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who earlier on June 27 addressed the G7 summit, said Russia should be legally recognized as the largest terrorist organization in the world.
"The Russian state has become the largest terrorist organization in the world. And this is a fact. And this must be a legal fact," Zelenskiy said in a video. "And everyone in the world should know that buying or transporting Russian oil, maintaining ties with Russian banks, paying taxes and duties to the Russian state is giving money to terrorists.”
The G7 leaders said earlier they would keep sanctions on Russia for as long as necessary and intensify international economic and political pressure on Putin and his supporters in Belarus.
The earlier statement said the G7 countries were "committed to sustaining and intensifying" sanctions and would continue to use them as needed "acting in unison at every stage."
The statement adds that the G7 countries "will continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military, and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes."
RFE/RL's Live Briefing gives you all of the latest developments on Russia's ongoing invasion, how Kyiv is fighting back, the plight of civilians and refugees, and Western aid and reaction. For all of RFE/RL's coverage of the war, click here.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the pledges were necessary to maintain pressure on Putin.
"Imagine if we allowed Putin to get away with the violent acquisition of huge chunks of another country, sovereign, independent territory," Johnson told the BBC. "The lessons for that would be absolutely chilling. The point I would make to people is I think that sometimes the price of freedom is worth paying."
The G7 leaders are committed to exploring new ways to isolate Russia from participating in the global market and to crack down on evasion of existing sanctions, the statement said.
The countries pledged to take steps to further reduce their dependency on Russian energy and to expand sanctions to further restrict Russia's access to services and technologies, particularly those supporting its armament industry, the statement said. They also pledged more sanctions on individuals responsible for war crimes.
The statement, issued by Germany, the current holder of the G7's rotating presidency, also said the group was ready to provide more funding to help shore up Ukrainian government finances. The budget support that has been pledged and provided thus far in 2022 amounts to $29.5 billion, the statement said.
The G7 leaders said they recognized the devastating level of destruction of infrastructure in Ukraine caused by the war and stood ready to support an international reconstruction plan.
Separately, the United States said it was finalizing a weapons package for Ukraine that would include long-range air-defense systems -- arms that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy specifically requested when he addressed the leaders by video link earlier in the day.
Zelenskiy urged G7 leaders to do everything in their power to end Russia's invasion of his country by the end of the year as Ukraine's military says it continues to fend off an attempted encirclement in the eastern city of Lysychansk.
Zelenskiy told the leaders that he wanted the war to end before the winter set in and battle conditions would make it tougher for his troops as they mount their fightback, several diplomats were quoted as saying by international media outlets after the speech.
Zelenskiy also asked for air-defense systems, more sanctions on Russia, and security guarantees as he addressed the summit at the Schloss Elmau in Bavaria, diplomats said, adding that the Ukrainian leader stressed the necessity to keep applying "heavy" punitive actions on Russia and "not lower the pressure" following multiple rounds of sanctions that Western allies have imposed on Moscow.
Zelenskiy also asked for help to export grain from Ukraine and for reconstruction aid, they said.
The Ukrainian military command said earlier that it had repelled Russian attacks west of Lysychansk and prevented an encirclement of the strategically important Donbas city.
"Near Verkhnyokamyanka, the defense forces inflicted significant losses on the enemy and forced them to retreat," the Ukrainian General Staff reported. Verkhnyokamyanka is located on an important supply road only a few kilometers west of Lysychansk.
Serhiy Hayday, the head of the military administration of Luhansk, where Lysychansk is located, urged inhabitants of the city to leave immediately as Russian forces level large swaths of the town, where about 100,000 people lived before the invasion.
"The disastrous 'Russian World' is trying to wipe from the world's map our history by destroying the cultural institutions and architectural monuments of the Luhansk region," Hayday wrote on the Telegram messaging app, accusing Russian forces of already destroying more than 60 such institutions and monuments in the city.
The military command separately said on June 27 that a missile strike had hit the Odesa region in southern Ukraine, a day after Russia launched strikes against the capital, Kyiv, and other Ukrainian cities.
The command said the missile, which was fired from a Russian-type Tu-22 strategic bomber, caused six casualties including a child. It was not clear whether the authorities were reporting injuries or deaths.
"The strike in a residential area of a civilian settlement destroyed several residential and farm buildings over around 500 square meters," the command said, adding that firefighters were still battling the flames.
Meanwhile, the United States plans to announce as soon as this week that it has purchased an advanced, medium- to long-range surface-to-air missile defense system for Ukraine, CNN and AP reported on June 27, citing sources familiar with the issue.
Ukrainian officials have asked for the missile defense system known as NASAMS that can hit targets more than 160 kilometers away, the sources said.
Washington last week announced an additional $450 million in military assistance for Ukraine, giving it four more multiple launch rocket systems and artillery ammunition for other systems.
Earlier this month, the Biden administration said it was providing an additional $1 billion military aid package to Ukraine that will include additional howitzers, ammunition, and coastal defense systems.
More and more analysts envision a protracted battle in the eastern part of Ukraine, with high human and equipment losses on both sides.
Britain's Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence bulletin on June 27 that, in the following weeks, Russia, which has reportedly suffered a high rate of casualties, is "highly likely" to rely increasingly on reservists.
However, British intelligence suggested that the Russian leadership "likely remains reluctant to order a general mobilization," despite a permanent shortfall in the number of reservists who can be deployed in Ukraine.
With reporting by Reuters, AP, dpa, TASS, and AFP
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