The Latest: Italy hosts the Group of Seven summit with global conflicts on the agenda

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BORGO EGNAZIA, Italy (AP) — Italy is hosting the summit of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations in the wake of the European Parliament election, which saw a surge in support for the far right in places like G7 members France and Germany.

Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni also leads a far-right party but continues to hew to the center, particularly on foreign policy, which has made her a reassuring transatlantic partner amid Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

The G7 summit through Saturday is focusing on global conflicts, the spread of artificial intelligence and on Africa issues, with a view in particular to Italy’s longstanding concern about uncontrolled migration to Europe and human traffickers. Perennial issues such as climate change and China also will be discussed.

The G7 is an informal forum with an annual summit to discuss economic policy and security issues. The members are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Currently:

Italy’s Meloni will welcome the G7 summit fortified by an EU vote that shook French, German leaders

In Italy’s Puglia region, women take the lead in challenging the local mafia at great personal risk

US pushes for Ukraine aid, united front against China’s trade practices at G7 finance meeting

Here’s the latest:

G7 leaders agree to lend Ukraine $50 billion using frozen Russian assets as collateral

BARI, Italy — Officials say the world’s seven wealthiest democracies have agreed on lending Ukraine up to $50 billion using frozen Russian assets as collateral.

Diplomats confirmed the agreement, which was struck before Thursday’s start of the three-day G7 summit that brings together Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will also sign a bilateral security agreement during the summit.

European officials have resisted confiscating the assets, citing legal and financial stability concerns. But the plan would use the interest earned on the assets to help Ukraine’s war effort.

The U.S. proposal involves using profits from the roughly $260 billion in frozen Russian central bank assets, most of them held in the European Union, to help Ukraine.

The U.S. would issue Ukraine the $50 billion loan using windfall profits from the immobilized funds as collateral.

United Kingdom pledges $310 million in nonmilitary aid to Ukraine

LONDON — U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is announcing up to 242 million pounds (286 million euros or $310 million) in nonmilitary aid to Ukraine as Group of Seven leaders gather for a summit overshadowed by war.

Sunak is taking time out from the U.K. election campaign to attend Thursday’s gathering in southern Italy.

The U.K. government says the money will go towards “immediate humanitarian, energy and stabilization needs” in Ukraine. Sunak has also thrown his support behind a plan to use interest from seized Russian assets to help Ukraine rebuild.

Sunak said the war is at a “critical moment” and Ukraine’s allies “must move from ‘as long as it takes’ to ‘whatever it takes’ if we are to end this illegal war.”

The U.K. has pledged 12.5 billion pounds to Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022. That includes 7.6 billion pounds worth of military assistance.

Sunak is battling to keep his job after the U.K. election on July 4, with opinion polls putting his Conservatives far behind the opposition Labour Party. Labour leader Keir Starmer says he will keep up the United Kingdom’s strong support for Ukraine if he becomes prime minister.

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