Zelensky attends G7 summit in Hiroshima as world leaders impose sanctions on Russia


HIROSHIMA(AP) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Japan on Saturday to meet with the leaders of the world’s most powerful democracy. The personal appearance was meant to gain global attention as countries stepped up pressure on Moscow over the 15-month invasion of Ukraine.

Boosting international support is a top priority as Ukraine prepares for what appears to be a major push to recapture territory occupied by Russia in a war that began in February last year. Mr. Zelensky’s personal visit to the G7 summit came just hours after the United States agreed to allow training of a powerful U.S.-made fighter that would lay the groundwork for its eventual deployment in Ukraine.

Host Japan said Zelensky’s admission came from his “strong desire” to participate in talks with the European Union and other countries that affect its defense against Russia.

“Japan. G7. Important meeting with Ukrainian partners and friends. Strengthening security and cooperation for our victory. Peace will come closer today,” Zelensky tweeted after arriving on a French-provided plane.

A European Union official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the deliberations with reporters, said Mr Zelensky will attend two separate meetings on Sunday. One session will be attended only by his G7 members and will focus on the Ukraine war. Another summit will include the G7 as well as other countries invited to the summit and will focus on “peace and stability.”

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Presidents Joe Biden and Zelensky will talk face-to-face at the summit. On Friday, Mr. Biden announced his support for training Ukrainian pilots in US-made F-16 fighter jets ahead of the final delivery of the aircraft to Ukraine.

“We need to improve [Ukraine’s] air defense capabilities, including pilot training,” Zelensky said after a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, one of several leaders he met. wrote on their official Telegram channel. President Zelensky also held direct talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the first time since the war, outlining a Ukrainian peace plan that envisaged withdrawing Russian troops from the country before negotiations.

Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Glushko has accused the West of “continuing the escalation route” after announcing the possibility of deploying F-16s to Kiev.

The G7 said in a joint statement on Saturday that it would step up pressure.

“Russia’s brutal war of aggression poses a threat to the whole world and violates basic norms, rules and principles of the international community,” it said. G7 leaders faced a balancing act as they tried to address a range of urgent global issues, including climate change, AI, poverty and economic instability, nuclear proliferation and, most importantly, the war in Ukraine.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, is at the center of many of these concerns.

There are growing fears that Beijing, which has steadily expanded its nuclear weapons program, might seek to take Taiwan by force, which could spark a wider conflict. China claims the autonomous island as its own and regularly sends ships and fighter jets to its vicinity.

The G7 said on Saturday it did not want to harm China and wanted a “constructive and stable relationship” with China, adding that it “recognises the importance of open dialogue with China and expresses direct concern to China.” expressed,” he said.