Leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized nations pledged continued "unwavering" support for Ukraine on Saturday as the country marked the second anniversary of Russia's invasion, committing to further pressuring Moscow and slamming its arms transactions with North Korea.

"As Ukraine enters the third year of this relentless war, its government and its people can count on the G7's support for as long as it takes," the leaders said in a statement issued after their video conference hosted by the group's rotating chair Italy.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends a meeting of Group of Seven leaders virtually from his office in Tokyo on Feb. 25, 2024. (Photo courtesy of the Cabinet Public Affairs Office)(Kyodo)

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called for "unity" among G7 members in continuing to impose sanctions on Russia and seeking to bring a lasting peace for Ukraine, while criticizing North Korea for its military support for Moscow, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

"Russia's use of North Korean ballistic missiles in Ukraine is totally unacceptable," Kishida was quoted as saying in the press release, underscoring that the transfer of North Korean weapons to Russia is a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The gathering was the first among G7 leaders since Italy assumed this year's G7 presidency. The G7 comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States and the European Union.

With no end in sight to the war that began on Feb. 24, 2022, Ukraine is facing concerns about waning Western support, particularly as additional aid from the United States stalls amid political wrangling.

(From L) Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen attend a press conference in Kyiv on Feb. 24, 2024 (Kyodo)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy joined the virtual meeting alongside Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and some other leaders who traveled to Kyiv on Saturday to show their solidarity with the war-torn country.

Zelenskyy told his G7 counterparts that he is confident that this year they will "not only implement every agreement already reached, but also add to our cooperation."

In the G7 statement, the leaders called on Russia to "completely and unconditionally withdraw its military forces" from Ukraine and vowed to adopt "new measures as necessary" to sanction Moscow.

They also said they will impose additional sanctions on companies and individuals in third countries that help Russia acquire weapons, and demanded North Korea and Russia "immediately cease" missile exports and procurement.

They also expressed concern about transfers to Russia from businesses in China of weapons components.

On Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition activist and prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin who recently died in jail in the Arctic region, the G7 urged the Russian government to "fully clarify the circumstances around his death."

The incident has sparked criticism from Western countries, with U.S. President Joe Biden condemning Putin as "responsible" for the death of the 47-year-old activist.

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