Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, will go to the Group of Seven meeting in Japan in person. This is because the club of wealthy democracies wants to put more pressure on Russia to stop fighting in Ukraine.
Zelenskyy’s presence at the G7 leaders’ meeting in Hiroshima is a surprise, since the Japanese government had told local media that the Ukrainian leader would only be able to join the talks on Sunday through a video link.
On Friday, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, Oleksiy Danilov, said on national TV that Zelenskyy would be at the meeting.
“We were sure that our president would be wherever Ukraine needed him, in any part of the world, to solve the issue of stability in our country,” Danilov said. “Very important things will be decided there, so being there in person is very important to protect our interests.”
Ukraine’s presidential office said that it had told Japan’s Kyodo News a day earlier that Zelenskyy’s presence had not been ruled out, but that it would depend on the “situation on the battlefield.”
John Blaxland, a professor of international security and intelligence studies at the Australian National University, said that Zelenskyy’s presence would give the effort to put pressure on Russia more weight.
Blaxland told Al Jazeera, “I think it shows how charismatic Zelenskyy is, how enthusiastic Kishida is, and how important it is to strengthen the G7 and NATO’s resolve to keep sending weapons, especially with the expected increase in operations in Ukraine.”
“Zelenskyy will also try to meet with his South Korean and Australian peers. He wants to push for more military supplies from Korea and more Bushmasters and Hawkei protected mobility vehicles from Australia. He will also want to work hard to get the F-16 fighting planes made available.
In Japan, the G7 countries, which include the United States, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Italy, as well as the European Union, are trying to show a united front as they consider new ways to punish Moscow for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which is now 450 days old.
Leaders of the G7 are expected to announce new combined steps to hurt Russia’s economy, but there are rumours that members have different ideas about how far sanctions should go.