CORRECTED: G-7 pledges up to $32 bil. in aid for Ukraine next year

Finance ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations on Thursday pledged to offer up to $32 billion next year to help Ukraine deal with Russia's prolonged aggression.

The ministers, who met online, said the G-7 remained "strongly committed to addressing Ukraine's urgent short-term financing needs," according to a statement.

The $32 billion will enable Kyiv to continue the delivery of basic services, carry out the most critical repairs and stabilize the economy, it said, adding the aid includes 18 billion euros ($19 billion) from the European Union.

Meanwhile, G-7 foreign ministers criticized Russia for attacking energy and infrastructure facilities in Ukraine and agreed to step up support to help Ukrainians endure the harsh winter, according to a statement.

Russia's massive and deliberate attacks, using missiles and Iranian drones, "have left millions of Ukrainians in the dark and cold of winter," the statement by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said.

Germany hosted the virtual ministerial meetings before the G-7's rotating presidency passes to Japan in January. The G-7 groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, plus the European Union.

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told the meeting it is important for the G-7 to strengthen its cooperation as Russia's invasion of Ukraine drags on, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

The G-7 foreign ministers also "strongly condemned" the Taliban government in Afghanistan for its recent decision to bar women from universities and urged it to retract the step.

"Gender persecution may amount to a crime against humanity," it said.

© Kyodo News