In Hiroshima, Japan, the Group of Seven industrial powers Sunday convened the summit’s working session on the war in Ukraine, guest starring Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The Ukrainian president made his dramatic entrance to city the day earlier in a French plane, following his appearance at the Arab League summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Friday, where he appealed for support for Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself against Russian aggression.
Dressed in his signature sweater, Zelenskyy addressed the G7 as the group announced more military, financial and humanitarian support to his country. G7 member countries also increased sanctions and export controls on Russia and measures to crack down on those helping Moscow evade them.
But the biggest boost for Kyiv is the United States finally deciding to allow its allies to provide their American made F-16 fighter jets and train Ukrainian pilots to fly them. In a meeting scheduled for Sunday afternoon, Zelenskyy will no doubt thank U.S. President Joe Biden for finally agreeing to his request for F-16s after months of refusal because of concerns over escalating the conflict. The fighter jets will modernize Ukraine’s current fleet, which mostly consists of Soviet-era aircraft.
Prior to his address at the G7, Zelenskyy held individual meetings Saturday with the group’s leaders, including British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. In the evening he met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been criticized for refusing to condemn Russia’s invasion.
He met Sunday morning with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and is scheduled to meet summit host Japanese Prime Minister Kishida later in the day.
In their communique released Saturday, G7 leaders again condemn the war in Ukraine “in the strongest possible terms.”
“Russia’s brutal war of aggression represents a threat to the whole world in breach of fundamental norms, rules and principles of the international community,” the statement said. “We reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine for as long as it takes to bring a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.”
Invited guests attending the G7 working session on Ukraine in person include leaders of Australia, Brazil, Comoros, Cook Islands, Indonesia, India, South Korea and Vietnam. Their participation is part of Kishida’s outreach to the Global South, where many countries bear the brunt of the impact of the war on food and energy prices.
Hours after Zelenskyy’s arrival in Japan, Moscow announced that its forces had occupied Bakhmut, the eastern Ukrainian city that Zelenskyy’s troops have tried to defend for months.