Zelensky arrives in Japan to attend the G7 summit, and Biden agrees to deliver F-16 fighters to Ukraine

Zelensky arrives in Japan to attend the G7 summit, and Biden agrees to deliver F-16 fighters to Ukraine
Zelensky arrives in Japan to attend the G7 summit, and Biden agrees to deliver F-16 fighters to Ukraine

receipt Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky Saturday to Hiroshima to participate in the works G7 summitafter he got a US green light to supply his country with the advanced F-16 warplanes that Kiev desperately demands and also to train Ukrainian pilots.

And at Hiroshima airport, the French plane carrying Zelensky from Saudi Arabia, where he was going to attend the Arab League summit, landed on Friday, and a red carpet was laid, according to AFP correspondents.

Intervention of the France 24 delegate in Ukraine

This trip would be an opportunity to consult with allies such as President Joe Biden, but also to draw in major non-aligned powers at the summit including India and Brazil, who have refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and are also likely to be prime targets for Zelensky’s diplomacy.

The unexpected visit also comes, after he previously announced his participation via video call, following a breakthrough in his relentless efforts to convince Washington of his country’s need for F-16 fighters. Momentum has been building to supply Ukraine with these planes, but Washington’s support is essential because its consent is legally necessary for the re-export of US equipment bought by allies.

Zelensky said Saturday that “peace will be closer” as a result of the G7 summit meetings, after a diplomatic source confirmed his arrival in Hiroshima. The Ukrainian president said in a post on the communication platforms: “Japan. The G7. Important meetings with partners and friends of Ukraine. Intensive security and cooperation so that we can win. Today peace will be closer.”

Seven summit .. Ukraine and thorny issues

The United States has previously cited long and expensive pilot training periods as reasons for not delivering the warplanes, with officials insisting there are more cost-effective ways to bolster Kiev’s air defenses. But now it seems likely that the F-16s will join the list of advanced systems, including Western tanks and long-range weapons, that Ukraine’s allies agreed to supply after initial hesitation.

And Friday, Biden told the leaders G7 in Japan Washington will now support the request, a move Zelensky hailed as a “historic decision”. Zelensky said he would meet with Biden in Hiroshima to discuss “practical implementation” of the plan, and the White House said Biden was “looking forward” to the talks, without setting a date.

Also, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stressed that the decision regarding the planes did not reflect a shift in US policy. He told reporters in Hiroshima: “Nothing has changed. Our approach to providing weapons, equipment and training to the Ukrainians followed the exigencies of the conflict.”

Zelensky’s presence in Hiroshima will have major implications for the remaining two days of the summit, as Ukraine will steal the spotlight from a long list of other thorny issues, including addressing concerns about China’s growing military and economic power.

Intervention by France 24 correspondent in Japan

On the other hand, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said that Zelensky will participate in talks on Ukraine with the leaders of the Group of Seven on Sunday, in addition to a session on “peace and stability”, which will also include non-member countries invited to the summit. It is scheduled that the Ukrainian President will also hold bilateral meetings in Hiroshima with French President Emmanuel Macron and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

The Group of Seven had announced earlier new sanctions against Moscow, and pledged Friday to “starve” the Russian “war machine”.

“Economic coercion and the weaponization of trade”

Saturday’s sessions will address “economic coercion” and how to diversify key sectors and supply chains. “What we’ve done over the past 20 years with China to encourage development has been right, but maybe we should have been more careful about vital materials and supply chains and those elements,” an EU official said. The same source added, “I think the goal of all G7 leaders is to say that China has pursued a systematic policy of acquiring important raw materials and controlling supply chains (…) and we are responding to that through diversification.”

And the leaders of the Group of Seven warned on Saturday that any attempts to “weaponize” trade and supply chains “will fail and will face consequences,” in a veiled warning to Beijing about its economic practices. “Attempts to weaponize economic dependencies by forcing G7 members and our partners, including small economies, to respond and comply will fail and face consequences,” the group said in a statement, which did not directly mention China.

Earlier Saturday, the US national security adviser said the G7 would agree on a “common set of tools” to combat economic “coercion” and reduce the risk of high-tech exports to China undermining national security.

This, and will hold talks with non-member countries amid trying G-7 leaders to convince developing countries of its ability to provide diplomatic and economic alternatives to countries such as China.

France 24/AFP

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