Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives in Japan

World Saturday 20/May/2023 12:24 PM
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrives in Japan

Hiroshima: Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday landed in Hiroshima, Japan to attend the annual summit of the Group of Seven (G7) the world's most industrialised countries.

Live footage on Japan's public broadcaster, NHK, showed Zelensky stepping off a French plane at an airport in Hiroshima. A red carpet was rolled out minutes before his arrival, and he was immediately whisked away in a black sedan, according to the New York Times. "Important meetings with partners and friends of Ukraine. Security and enhanced cooperation for our victory. Peace will become closer today," Zelenskyy tweeted on arrival in Japan.

The Ukrainian leader, who made a surprise visit to an Arab League summit in Saudi Arabia on Friday, is looking to rally the international community to increase sanctions on Russia and pledge further support for Ukraine, according to a report in Al Jazeera.

Zelenskyy's visit comes a day after US President Biden informed the G7 leaders in Hiroshima that the US would support the joint allied training of Ukrainian pilots on fourth-generation fighter jets, including the F-16. Once the training gets underway, it would be decided when and how many aircraft would be delivered and who in the coalition would provide them.

Biden said he was also prepared to let other countries give F-16s to Ukraine, reported The New York Times.

The G7 grouping includes the US, Japan, Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Canada.
On Saturday morning, in Hiroshima, Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, confirmed to reporters the shift in Biden's stance.

Zelenskyy left Jeddah, Saudi Arabia late Friday after attending the Arab League summit, the Saudi state news agency reported, as cited by NYT.

At Hiroshima, "symbol of peace", the G7 members pledged to mobilise all their policy instruments and, together with Ukraine, make every effort to bring a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine as soon as possible.

The G7 leaders in a statement condemned, Russia's manifest violation of the Charter of the United Nations (UN) and the impact of Russia's war on the rest of the word.

The statement further read, fifteen months of Russia's aggression has cost thousands of lives, inflicted immense suffering on the people of Ukraine, and imperiled access to food and energy for many of the world's most vulnerable people.

Japan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement earlier that Ukraine president Zelensky is expected to address the leaders of the Group of 7 nations.

In Hiroshima, Zelenskyy will almost certainly meet one on one with Biden and will meet PM Narendra Modi as well, the New York Times reported.

Incidentally, the venue of the G7 Summit is Hiroshima, one of the two Japanese cities bombed with nuclear weapons by the US during World War II.

Leaders of the Group of Seven called on Friday for a "world without nuclear weapons", urging Russia, Iran, China and North Korea to cease nuclear escalation and embrace non-proliferation, according to a statement released by the White House.

The G7 leaders on Friday said they had ensured that Ukraine had the budget support it needs for this year and early 2024 as they renewed their commitment to provide financial and military support in its fight against Russia.

"We reaffirm our strong commitment to ensuring that Ukraine has the economic support it needs. Under the leadership of Japan's G7 Presidency, together with the international community, we have ensured Ukraine has the budget support it needs for 2023 and early 2024," read the White House G7 Leaders' Statement on Ukraine.

They also welcomed the approval of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and looked forward to the swift implementation of Ukraine's reforms supported by the program.

The program will help to stabilise Ukraine's macroeconomic and financial situation, contribute to longer-term economic sustainability, and help to catalyse further financial support from other countries and institutions as well as the private sector.

"We commit to continuing our security assistance to Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia's aggression, tailoring our support to Ukraine's needs. We stress the importance of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in coordinating military and defence assistance by each country provided in line with its national circumstances," added the statement.