The Ukrainian president had initially been expected to participate by videoconference but will now be attending Sunday’s session.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will join leaders of the world’s most powerful democracies in Hiroshima, Japan, making his furthest trip from of his war-torn country as leaders are set to unveil new sanctions on Russia for its invasion.
Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, confirmed on national television that Zelenskyy would attend the summit.
“We were sure that our president would be where Ukraine needed him, in any part of the world, to solve the issue of stability of our country,” said Danilov. “There will be very important matters decided there, so physical presence is a crucial thing to defend our interests”.
Japanese leader Fumio Kishida said he invited Zelenskyy to the G7 Summit during his visit to Kyiv in March.
The G7 summit began with leaders vowing to put pressure on Russia and establish a united front on China.
The European Union announced plans to ‘limit’ trade in Russian diamonds after the United States and United Kingdom unveiled new sanctions against Moscow.
Ahead of the opening session, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, reiterated EU and G7 support to Ukraine:
“In the EU we are working hard to get Ukraine what they need – more weapons, more ammunition and faster. This will be crucial. We have stood with Ukraine with solidarity and resolve and we will keep it up for as long as it takes”.
What are the other top issues at G7 this year?
The war Ukraine is not the only topic on the agenda at the US officials said the summit is not about “one country or the other”, and France says it will use the opportunity to address the climate crisis and artificial intelligence.
There will also be a focus on Beijing’s escalating threats against Taiwan, the self-governing democratic island Beijing claims as its own, and ways to reduce Western democracies’ economic and supply chain dependency on China.
To address the rise of Global South nations, including many former colonies of Western powers with varied views on and ties to Russia and China, the G7 will offer these countries more support in health, food security and infrastructure to develop closer ties.
In a closely watched event on the sidelines of the summit, Japan’s PM Kishida will meet together with US President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol to discuss closer security cooperation, possibly including stronger nuclear deterrence.
Kishida and Yoon will pay their respects together at a Hiroshima memorial for Korean atomic bomb victims in a trust-building gesture as the two countries repair ties strained by disputes stemming from Japan’s 1910-1945 colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.