G7 foreign ministers are struggling to find answers for the Middle East and Ukraine. In particular, new weapons systems are expected to arrive soon.

The port of Capri.

The G7 countries meet here in the port of Capri on April 17 Photo: Remo Casilli/Reuters

SEDAN taz | It probably won't be an idyllic meeting for G7 foreign ministers on the rocky Italian island of Capri. Because the world situation inevitably creates a tense atmosphere and difficult issues on the political agenda. With Iran's attack on Israel last weekend, the round of seven of major Western industrialized countries feels compelled to take a clear position.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) demanded maximum restraint from Iran and Israel. “A spiral of escalation would serve no one,” Baerbock said before the meeting began. The Foreign Minister had previously been in Israel for talks on the crisis. His warning applies explicitly to both states: for Israel's security, for the many dozens of hostages held by Hamas, for the population of Gaza, for “the many people in Iran who are suffering under the regime,” and also for other states in the region.

In addition to Germany and Italy, the United States, Canada, Great Britain, France and Japan, as well as the EU, are participating in the meeting. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will also travel to the island. The war in the Middle East at least briefly took the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine out of the headlines. But in the third year of the violent conflict, the Russian military is gaining a lot of ground. Ukraine has to worry about more aid, especially from the United States. And on the front the arsenal of weapons is simply coming to an end.

Ukraine needs supplies, especially when it comes to air defense. After dramatic calls from Kuleba and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the NATO-Ukraine Council, the allies want to join forces and build support for more air defense systems around the world. “A stronger air defense is a matter of survival for thousands of people in Ukraine and the best protection for our own security,” Baerbock agrees with the demands of his Ukrainian counterpart. And: To achieve this, “we and our partners around the world must now intensify our efforts in defending against Russian terrorism from the air.”

Time is ticking for Ukraine

In order to arm Ukraine militarily in the long term, several states have joined forces to form so-called capabilities coalitions. Germany takes the lead in air defense. Just a few days ago, the Federal Ministry of Defense delivered another Patriot system, with more to follow throughout the year. However, time is running out and preparations for additional defense equipment will probably take too long to influence the course of the war. Currently, Russia is deliberately destroying infrastructure such as energy and water supplies. So-called glider bombs also cause problems.

These attack defensive positions between 40 and 60 kilometers away, avoid radar systems and have enormous destructive power. Therefore, the allies depend on the fighter planes from which the gliding bombs are dropped to be shot down. But this is only possible if the air defense is strengthened. The question of whether the states have the corresponding systems in stock and can also supply them varies greatly. While the United States is relatively well positioned, in Germany stocks have decreased considerably.

The G7 meeting in Capri will continue until Friday. By then at the latest, the Foreign Ministers want to have agreed on a joint initiative to be able to quickly support Ukraine.

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