- By Tessa King
- BBC News, Hiroshima
Volodymyr Zelensky is planning to take part in the G7 summit in Japan, reports say, in an effort to ensure support is reinforced in the face of a planned counter-offensive in the Ukraine war.
The Ukrainian president is expected to visit Hiroshima on Sunday, although his office has not confirmed the visit.
On Friday, Mr. Zelensky flew to Saudi Arabia to meet with the leaders of the Arab states.
The G7 summit kicked off Friday with renewed condemnation of Russia and the announcement of further sanctions.
The group of seven countries, including the US, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Canada and Japan, represent the wealthiest democracies in the world. This year, eight other countries such as Australia and India have also been invited.
Mr. Zelensky is expected to appear at the summit via video link, but there has been much speculation that he or his wife, who recently visited South Korea, will attend in person.
The trip will be the furthest he has traveled from Kyiv since the war began in February 2022, and like other trips outside Ukraine, it could pose a potential safety risk. his.
But the calculation is an acceptable risk if it means securing more help in the fight against Russia.
“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. Presence. direct contact of our president at such events is extremely important,” said Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s powerful National Security and Defense Council.
Several news agencies have reported that Mr. Zelensky will attend the summit, although this has not been officially confirmed.
Over the past few days, Mr Zelensky has visited Italy, Germany, France and the UK, where he has promised military support. He also continued to push the allies to form a “jet alliance” to provide advanced fighter jets to Ukraine, but so far no country has committed to directly supplying the warplanes. fight.
On Friday, Mr. Zelensky traveled to Saudi Arabia for the Arab League summit, arriving there on a plane loaned by the French government. It is assumed he will go from there to the G7 summit.
When he arrives in Hiroshima, he will likely convince leaders to be more cautious about lending aid, such as Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian leader Narendra Modi.
“By showing up in person, it’s his chance to make sure he doesn’t go away empty-handed and that he returns to Kyiv with all the weapons he wants,” including the promise. about lethal weapons from Japan, said John Kirton, director of the G7 team.
Although Japan sympathizes with Ukraine, its strict military law means that so far Japan has only supplied non-lethal defense equipment.
On a drizzly Friday morning, the G7 leaders were greeted by Mr Kishida at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, where they laid a wreath in honor of those who died in the US atomic bombing. accelerate the end of World War II.
The first day of the summit ended with a statement in which member states pledged “new steps” to avert the war in Ukraine and promised further sanctions to “increase costs for Russia.” and those who are supporting their war effort”.
It said it would “starve the G7 technology, industrial equipment and services that support its war machine” and limit Russia’s revenue from selling energy and diamonds.
The summit, which ends on Sunday, is expected to end with a joint communique on the war in Ukraine and a declaration on nuclear non-proliferation.