Volodymy Zelensky is set to join the G7 summit in Japan, according to reports, in a move aimed at securing increased support for Ukraine ahead of its planned counter-offensive in the ongoing war. While Zelensky’s office has not officially confirmed the visit, he is expected to arrive in Hiroshima on Sunday.
The G7 summit commenced on Friday with a renewed condemnation of Russia and the announcement of additional sanctions. The group, consisting of the US, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, and Japan, represents the world’s wealthiest democracies, with eight additional countries, including Australia and India, invited this year.
Initially scheduled to participate via videolink, speculation has been growing that Zelensky or his wife, who recently traveled to South Korea, would attend the summit in person. This trip would mark Zelensky’s furthest journey from Kyiv since the war began in February 2022, and while it carries potential safety risks, the calculation is that the benefits of securing further international support outweigh the dangers.
Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, emphasized the significance of Zelensky’s physical presence at such events, stating, “When a person is somewhere far away, across the ocean, somewhere else, they do not always feel and understand what is happening on the territory of our country.”
Multiple news agencies have reported Zelensky’s planned travel to the summit, although it awaits official confirmation. In recent days, Zelensky has visited Italy, Germany, France, and the UK, solidifying promises of military support. He continues to push allies to provide advanced fighter jets to Ukraine, but no country has committed to direct provision thus far.
On Friday, Zelensky made an unannounced visit to Saudi Arabia for the Arab League summit, where he called on Arab leaders to facilitate the return of political prisoners in Crimea and other Russian-occupied territories. While only Syria openly supports Russia’s invasion among the 22 Arab League members, other nations have sought to maintain good relations with Moscow.
It is believed that Zelensky will travel from Saudi Arabia to the G7 summit. Upon reaching Hiroshima, he will likely focus on persuading cautious leaders, such as Japanese PM Fumio Kishida and Indian leader Narendra Modi, to provide aid. John Kirton, director of the G7 Research Group think tank, remarked that Zelensky’s in-person attendance presents an opportunity for him to secure weapons deals, including the potential promise of lethal weapons from Japan.
While Japan has shown significant sympathy for Ukraine, its strict military laws have limited its provision to non-lethal defense equipment thus far. The G7 leaders were welcomed by PM Kishida on Friday at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, where they laid wreaths to honor the victims of the US atomic bombing during World War Two.
The summit’s first day concluded with a statement in which member countries pledged to take “new steps” to halt the war in Ukraine and promised further sanctions to increase the costs for Russia and those supporting its war effort. The G7 leaders expressed their commitment to depriving Russia of G7 technology, industrial equipment, and services that aid its war machine while also limiting Russia’s revenue from energy and diamond sales.
Additionally, British PM Rishi Sunak confirmed that the UK would impose sanctions on the Russian diamond industry and target more individuals and companies associated with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The G7 summit, scheduled to conclude on Sunday, is expected to issue a communique addressing the war in Ukraine and a statement on nuclear non-prolifer