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G-7 Convenes: Ukraine, Grain, and COVID

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left, shakes hands with in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In the center is French President Emmanuel Macron. 6.16.2022.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left, shakes hands with in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In the center is French President Emmanuel Macron. 6.16.2022.

The G-7 nations have gathered in Germany's Bavarian Alps Sunday, June 26, for their annual summit. This year the meeting of the world's seven wealthiest nations is hosted by 2022 G-7 Chair, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. On the topic table are Ukraine, world food supplies, COVID-19, and the impacts.

U.S. President Joe Biden is in Germany with his counterparts in the world's strongest economies.

The Annual G-7, or Group of Seven, Summit is there in the Baviarian Alps because the 2022 Chair for the elite group is German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Also attending the summit are Canada PM Justin Trudeau, Japan PM Yoshihide Suga, Italian PM Mario Draghi, France President Emmanuel Macron, and UK PM Boris Johnson.

The European Union is represented by President Ursula von der Leyen, and European Council President Charles Michel.

Guest countries at this year's G-7 talks are the leaders of Sputh Africa, Senegal, India, Indonesia, and Argentina.

Facing these leaders are daunting problems: the grinding Russian attack on Ukraine, the disruptions to the world's food supply resulting from that conflict, the global supply chain bottlenecks, and the drain on economies and lives from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The fires of Ukraine glare brightest. NGO Freedom House official Nicole Bibbins Sedaca is quoted in as saying "What we'll be looking for is how much of their political and economic might will they bring to bear, to really push back on Russian aggression."

In May, the G-7 nations pledged to Ukraine an additional $19.8 billion in economic aid. This, in addition to the substantial military assistance from the U.S. and several other G-7 members.

The summit comes days after the European Union granted Candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova. Very recently, Chancellor Scholz, PM Draghi, and President Macron met in Kyiv with Ukraine President Vlodomyr Zelenskyy, publicly stating their support for E.U. membership.

The war has disrupted the flow of foodstuffs from the Black Sea to the dinner plates of African families and others. And the supply constriction sent prices leaping, making food insecurity a growing problem in many places.

Strong sanctions imposed against Russia by western nations have sadly had reverberations in the food distribution chain. Ukraine is a "breadbasket" nation that supplies much wheat and other grains on the world market. With its Black Sea access severely diminished, getting that food to hungry nations is nearly impossible.

The G-7 Summit is expected to include a focus on members helping hard-hit nations obtain food and other necessities in the face of tight supply and rampant inflation, which has ravaged national economies and cash resources.

Ahead of the Bavaria meeting, the Group renewed its support for the World Health Organization's drive to get 70% of the global population inoculated against Covid-19 by the middle of this year. The G-7's own website notes that achieving this goal will require a much more robust effort - which costs economies but saves lives.

With every summit, there are agendas and priorities. With this year's G-7 Summit, some of these issues are literally life-or-death.