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Joe Biden wraps up G7 summit early, abandoning plans for a speech as thunderstorms close in

President Joe Biden left the G7 early Tuesday to avoid impending thunderstorms, appeared before reporters only briefly for a few photo opportunities and canceled a scheduled speech.

The White House blamed “the weather” for the early exit.

It meant setting off at 10:58 am and boarding Air Force One in Munich – en route to Mardid where he will reunite with the first lady for a NATO summit – just as its host, the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, addressed the media at the end of the G7 summit.

It all capped off a subdued appearance by Biden, where he seemed content to let other leaders – most notably Boris Johnson of the UK – do most of the talking.

So on Tuesday morning, when he met other leaders, he turned to his colleagues and said he hadn’t heard the question, instead of answering a yelled question about how to get grain out of blocked Ukraine.

Johnson replied instead, “We’re working on it.”

Like other leaders, Biden arrived at the summit hoping to escape his own thunderstorms at home.

President Joe Biden headed for the exit early Tuesday morning, the first leader to leave the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps.  He canceled a planned speech as the White House blamed 'the weather' for his departure to Madrid, where he will attend a NATO summit

President Joe Biden headed for the exit early Tuesday morning, the first leader to leave the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau in the Bavarian Alps. He canceled a planned speech as the White House blamed ‘the weather’ for his departure to Madrid, where he will attend a NATO summit

Biden boarded Air Force One as his G7 host, Germany's Olaf Schulz, addressed the media and outlined the progress made at the summit of world leaders

Biden boarded Air Force One as his G7 host, Germany’s Olaf Schulz, addressed the media and outlined the progress made at the summit of world leaders

Biden's motorcade rolled out of the G7 at 10:58 a.m.  The White House blames 'the weather'

Biden’s motorcade rolled out of the G7 at 10:58 a.m. The White House blames ‘the weather’

Earlier, President Joe Biden arrived Tuesday morning to meet with G7 leaders

Earlier, President Joe Biden arrived Tuesday morning to meet with G7 leaders

Once again the leaders went unconditionally - a theme from the summit - as they gathered for the final session.  But Biden interrupted his presence to make his way to the exit without making any planned comments

Once again the leaders went unconditionally – a theme from the summit – as they gathered for the final session. But Biden interrupted his presence to make his way to the exit without making any planned comments

While most leaders left their top button undone, Britain's Boris Johnson went ahead and showed a little more of his chest than his peers

While most leaders left their top button undone, Britain’s Boris Johnson went ahead and showed a little more of his chest than his peers

The summit at Schloss Emlau – a resort amid the majesty of the Bavarian Alps – was an opportunity to reaffirm its promise that “America was back” after the Trump years, and to escape a series of crises at home – of rising inflation and a series of mass shootings leading to the US Supreme Court’s decision to end protections for abortion.

But he couldn’t escape the abortion ruling, with several G7 leaders speaking out on the Supreme Court’s decision on the eve of the summit.

“Abortion is a fundamental right for all women,” French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.

‘It must be protected. I want to express my solidarity with the women whose freedoms are being undermined by the United States Supreme Court.”

And Biden has rarely looked like the most powerful man in the world. While other leaders like Johnson and Canada’s Justin Trudeau hung out for photo calls, Biden stayed on the sidelines.

And while other world leaders had conducted interviews — Johnson appeared on both CNN and the BBC — Biden himself has a series of prepared comments and occasional short answers to yelled-out questions.

On Sunday, he was asked in meetings whether the Roe v. Wade decision had been discussed.

“…not related to Ukraine or any of the issues we discussed,” he said.

Biden ignored a shouted question about getting grain from Ukraine during the first session of the day and Britain's Boris Johnson answered instead.

Biden ignored a shouted question about getting grain from Ukraine during the first session of the day and Britain’s Boris Johnson answered instead. “We’re working on it,” he said

He departed Tuesday morning as dark clouds reached southern Germany. Stormy weather is a problem for the Secret Service, which prefers to use helicopters to move between secure locations.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine dominated the summit in Germany and is expected to feature prominently at NATO’s Madrid summit.

On Tuesday, G7 leaders pledged to fight back against Vladimir Putin’s food war with $5 billion to help protect supplies.

They also spoke strong words about China when the summit issued a joint statement.

And a senior Biden administration official said more than half of food funding — some $2.76 billion — will come from the US to fight Putin’s food blockade.

His actions have strangled food and agricultural production, used food as a weapon of war, including through the destruction of agricultural storage, processing and testing facilities, the theft of grain and agricultural equipment and the effect of blocked Black Sea ports.

Estimates suggest that up to 40 million people could be pushed into poverty by 2022 as a result of Putin’s war in Ukraine and its secondary effects, especially around food security around the world.

The leaders met at Schloss Emlau, a German seaside town, where the Bavarian Alps provided a spectacular backdrop for open-air speeches

The leaders met at Schloss Emlau, a German seaside town, where the Bavarian Alps provided a spectacular backdrop for open-air speeches

In addition to Ukraine, the rise of China and its impact on world markets put the delegations to the test during their three-day talks.

According to the official, leaders of the US, Germany, France, Italy, the UK, Canada and Japan agreed to develop a joint approach to remedy Beijing’s “unmarketable” international trade practices.

“You will see leaders issue a collective statement, unprecedented in the context of the G7, recognizing the damage caused by China’s non-transparent, market-distorting industrial guidelines,” the official said.

On Monday, they heard from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who added via video link.

He called for urgent help to end the war before the bitter winter months undermined his troops’ ability to fight back.

Hours later, they condemned a “horrific” Russian strike at a busy shopping center in Ukraine’s Kremenchuk.

“Arbitrary attacks on innocent civilians constitute a war crime,” they said.

“Russian President Putin and those responsible will be held accountable.”

About 1,000 customers were reportedly in downtown Kremenchuk when it was hit.

The death toll stood at 18 Tuesday morning, but that number was expected to rise as rescue teams searched the rubble.

People watch as smoke billows after a Russian missile strike hit a busy shopping center in Ukraine's Kremenchuk on Monday, June 27

People watch as smoke billows after a Russian missile strike hit a busy shopping center in Ukraine’s Kremenchuk on Monday, June 27

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to G7 leaders via video link on Monday, taking the opportunity to urge the US to recognize Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to G7 leaders via video link on Monday, taking the opportunity to urge the US to recognize Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism

Tuesday’s announcement on food security highlights another front in Putin’s war.

Russian warships block Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, which account for nearly all of the country’s grain and wheat exports.

The result is a rise in food prices around the world and warnings that as many as 47 million people will face acute hunger this year.

David Miliband, chairman of the International Rescue Committee, recently said: ‘Ukraine has long been the breadbasket, not only for its neighbors in the region or for Europe, but for the world.

Blockades in ports in the Black Sea are holding thousands of tons of wheat, grain and fertilizers hostage – with devastating consequences for millions already entangled in mounting hunger crises worldwide. These blockages must be lifted immediately.’

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