Volodymyr Zelensky arrives in Japan for G7 summit as Washington approves sending F-16 jets
Volodymyr Zelensky has arrived in Japan to attend the G7 summit with Rishi Sunak and other allies after the US paved the way for Ukraine to receive F-16 fighter jets.
The Ukrainian president said “peace will become closer” after arriving for the conference in Hiroshima on Saturday.
Japan. G7. Important meetings with partners and friends of Ukraine. Security and enhanced cooperation for our victory. Peace will become closer today.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) May 20, 2023
The White House said US President Joe Biden informed his allies at the conference in Hiroshima that it will allow the advanced planes to be donated to Kyiv.
Mr Zelensky tweeted: “Japan. G7. Important meetings with partners and friends of Ukraine. Security and enhanced cooperation for our victory. Peace will become closer today.”
Mr Biden, who is attending the G7 with other members France, Italy, Germany, Japan and Canada, as well as the EU, also announced training for Ukrainian pilots.
The Prime Minister welcomed the decision from the summit, having pressed allies to provide the Ukrainian president with the jets he has been calling for.
Welcome announcement that the US will approve the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets.
The UK will work together with the USA and the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark to get Ukraine the combat air capability it needs.
We stand united. https://t.co/36d8ffu6aa pic.twitter.com/9Us6mAieR3
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) May 19, 2023
Mr Sunak tweeted: “Welcome announcement that the US will approve the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets.
“The UK will work together with the USA and the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark to get Ukraine the combat air capability it needs.
“We stand united.”
The RAF does not have any US-manufactured F-16s.
Washington must legally approve their export.
Mr Zelensky is expected to take part in meetings with the G7 on Sunday.
It will potentially bring Mr Zelensky into contact with India’s Narendra Modi and Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who have not supported Ukraine like their western allies.
Neither are G7 members, but India is being represented at the summit because it is the current G20 chair, while Brazil has been invited as a guest.
Mr Zelensky’s attendance at the G7, the group that Russia was expelled from over its 2014 annexation of Crimea, is another show of solidarity from western allies.
Japan said he has a “strong wish” to take part in the talks that will influence his nation’s defence against Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
He will also have the chance to pressure and charm India and Brazil into supporting Ukraine.
On Saturday, Mr Sunak met with French President Emmanuel Macron for discussions at the summit and had a short “brush-by” meeting with German chancellor Olaf Scholz.
The Prime Minister had been expected to discuss small boat crossings of the Channel.
Meanwhile, the G7 announced it would establish a new team to root out and counter Russia and China’s use of economic coercion to influence nations’ decisions.