The presence of the Ukrainian president is likely to strengthen the G7 and NATO’s determination to continue supplying weapons.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will attend the Group of Seven summit in Japan in person as the club of wealthy democracies seeks to increase pressure on Russia to end its war in Ukraine.
Zelenskyy’s attendance at the G7 leaders’ summit in Hiroshima was an unexpected development after the Japanese government previously told local media that the Ukrainian leader would only attend Sunday’s talks via video link.
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, confirmed on national television on Friday that Zelenskyy would attend the summit.
“We are sure that our president is where he needs to be in Ukraine, in any part of the world, to solve the issue of stability in our country,” said Danilov. “There are very important matters being decided there, so physical presence is an important thing to protect our interests.”
Ukraine’s presidential office said it had told Japan’s Kyodo News a day earlier that Zelenskyy’s attendance had not been ruled out, but would depend on “the situation on the battlefield”.
John Blaxland, a professor of international security and intelligence studies at the Australian National University, said Zelenskyy’s physical presence would add weight to the effort to pressure Russia.
“I think this speaks to the charisma of Zelenskyy, the enthusiasm of Kishida and the importance of strengthening the G7 and more broadly NATO’s decision to continue supplying armaments, especially with the expected Ukrainian surge in operations ,” Blaxland told Al Jazeera.
“Zelenskyy will also seek to meet with his counterparts in South Korea and Australia – to push for more military supplies to Korea and for Australia to supply more Bushmaster and Hawkei protected mobility vehicles. he will keep the F-16 fighter aircraft available.”
In Japan, the G7 – the United States, Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy, along with the European Union – sought to present a united front as they weighed new sanctions measures. of Moscow in its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which is now in its 450th day.
G7 leaders are expected to announce new coordinated measures targeting the Russian economy, although there are reportedly divisions among members over how far the sanctions should go.
Zelenskyy has repeatedly called on the international community to increase its support for Kyiv and take stronger action to punish Moscow for its invasion of his country. Last week he made a whistle-stop tour of Berlin, Paris and London where he secured new arms commitments.
On Friday, a senior official in President Joe Biden’s administration said Washington would launch 300 new sanctions targeting 70 Russian entities and place more countries on a US blacklist. .
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also announced that the UK would ban imports of Russian diamonds, copper, aluminum and nickel, and punish 86 people and companies linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin.