UK prime minister Boris Johnson, US president Joe Biden, German chancellor Olaf Scholz, French president Emmanuel Macron and the prime ministers of Canada, Italy and Japan – Justin Trudeau, Mario Draghi and Fumio Kishida – arrived at the secluded Schloss Elmau luxury hotel near Lake Ferchensee on Sunday, joined by Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel of the EU.
President Biden, reportedly preparing to announce the purchase of an advanced Nasams surface-to-air missile system and additional artillery support for Ukraine, said Russian president Vladimir Putin “has been counting on, from the beginning, that somehow Nato and the G7 would splinter – but we haven’t and we’re not going to”.
America’s commander-in-chief is said to be planning to use the gathering to proclaim the unity of the coalition in the face of Russian aggression and to press his allies into doing more to bolster Mr Zelensky’s resistance as fatigue sets in and the war grinds into its fifth gruelling month.
Chancellor Scholz, the event’s host, has said that he hopes to discuss the outlines of a “Marshall plan for Ukraine” with his counterparts, alluding to the US-sponsored plan that helped to revive Europe’s fortunes after the continent was shattered by the Second World War.
He warned, however, that “rebuilding Ukraine will be a task for generations” and that a detailed plan would not be possible at this stage with the fighting still ongoing.
The G7 states have already committed to bankrolling Ukraine’s immediate needs, its finance ministers meeting last month to agree the provision of $19.8bn (£16bn) in economic aid.
Sanctions against Russia, reducing Europe’s energy dependence on Moscow and ending its naval blockade in the Black Sea, which is preventing crucial grain export shipments going ahead and contributing to a global food crisis, will also be key issues for the participants to consider.
“Putin’s actions in Ukraine are creating terrible aftershocks across the world, driving up energy and food prices as millions of people are on the brink of famine,” Mr Johnson has told his peers.
“Only Putin can end this needless and futile war. But global leaders need to come together and apply their combined economic and political heft to help Ukraine and make life easier for households across the world. Nothing should be off the table.”
But Ukraine is not the only topic under discussion and the leaders are being joined later by their counterparts from five fast-emerging economies – India, Indonesia, South Africa, Senegal and Argentina – to open dialogue on climate change and other issues of global import.
Mr Scholz in particular is said to be eager to convince those nations to join a “climate club” for countries that wish to tackle the issue at a faster pace.
Many of those leaders jetting to the Alps will also be taking part in a Nato summit in Madrid, Spain, which kicks off on Tuesday and will also be dominated by the military alliance’s responsibilities towards Ukraine, a non-member state that has appealed for its help and whose fate is being decided on its doorstep.