HIROSHIMA, Japan — The meeting of leaders of the Group of 7 nations that began Friday in Hiroshima, a city symbolic of the horrors of armed conflict, comes at a critical moment for President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, his country and the core Western democracies are now under attack. with the urgent mission of bringing about what President Biden called “Russia’s strategic defeat in Ukraine.”
Mr. Biden has always said that Russia has lost. But the fear sweeping the seven major democracies here is that unless Mr. Zelensky’s expected counteroffensive against the Russian occupiers proves too successful, Ukraine will settle for a bloody, frozen conflict. where the best hope is an armistice, reminding the one who brought. cessation of hostilities on the Korean Peninsula 70 years ago this summer.
It seemed almost impossible to imagine in 1997, when President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair invited Russia to become a full member of the group, expanding it – for almost two decades – to the G8. Russia was “suspended” after its annexation of Crimea in 2014, and it left the group three years later.
Now, with his troops intent on destroying Russian weapons depots ahead of the counteroffensive, Mr. Zelensky recently completed a series of rapid visits to European capitals to support continued heavy spending on armaments and aid. He is expected to speak with Hiroshima leaders virtually, but there are discussions behind the scenes about whether to risk being taken to the other side of the world to make his case.
Either way, he has a large audience. Apart from India, the leaders of Australia, South Korea, Brazil, Indonesia and Vietnam will all attend as guests. It is part of a broader strategy by Mr. Biden and his allies to persuade countries that, to varying degrees, have become fence sitters in the war, refusing to condemn Russia so harshly, to actively implement sanctions or to provide weapons to Ukraine.