Ukraine’s Zelensky Arrived at G7 – Will be His First Meeting With India’s Modi:
On Saturday morning, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Japan, where the G7 summit is taking place this weekend.
He reportedly stepped off the plane wearing his signature olive green attire rather than a suit – a symbol that his nation is at war.
His attendance at the event will provide the Ukrainian leader with an opportunity to meet with the leaders of the most powerful industrialized democracies and comes just days after Zelensky completed his “European tour,” where he sought to replenish his nation’s military arsenal and to build political alliances.
There had been intense speculation as to whether he would attend the Group of 7 in person or virtually.
“Japan. G7. Important meetings with partners and friends of Ukraine. Security and enhanced cooperation for our victory. Peace will become closer today,” Zelensky posted to Twitter on Saturday morning.
Though Zelensky may still get face time with some of Europe’s leaders, his presence in Japan will allow him to further meet with the leaders of other participating nations including Indonesia, Australia, Brazil, South Korea, and Vietnam. More importantly, in Japan, Zelensky will have his first meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi since Russia’s invasion began nearly 15 months ago.
Modi, who has thus far refused to actually condemn Moscow, has suggested his nation would do “everything we can” to help end the war.
“The war in Ukraine is a big issue for the whole world,” Modi told reporters, per CNN. “It has also had many effects on the whole world. But I don’t consider it to be just an issue of economy or politics. For me, it is an issue of humanity.”
India’s Delicate Balance
India has historically played both sides. It continues to forge closer relations with the West, yet historically has been a major purchaser of Russian military hardware.
It has also ramped up its purchase of Russian energy, essentially undermining Western sanctions, and throwing Vladimir Putin’s government a proverbial economic lifeline.
Yet, New Delhi has still ent humanitarian aid to Ukraine, even as it has abstained from UN resolutions that called for Russia’s withdrawal.
It was last September also that Modi spoke to Putin of the need to “move onto a path of peace,” on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan.
Biden Supports F-16 Training For Ukraine
Zelensky’s arrival in Japan also came just hours after President Joe Biden announced his support for training Ukrainian pilots on the U.S.-made F-16 fighter jet, which serves as a precursor to eventually providing the aircraft to the Ukrainian military.
“It is necessary to improve (Ukraine’s) air defense capabilities, including the training of our pilots,” Zelenskyy wrote on his official Telegram channel after meeting Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni, one of a number of leaders he talked to shortly after his arrival in Japan.
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Grushko quickly shot back, accusing Western countries of “continuing along the path of escalation,” following the announcements that raised the possibility of sending F-16s to Kyiv, the Associated Press reported.
However, the G7 also vowed to intensify the pressure in its joint statement Saturday.
“Russia’s brutal war of aggression represents a threat to the whole world in breach of fundamental norms, rules and principles of the international community. We reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine for as long as it takes to bring a comprehensive, just and lasting peace,” the group said.
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Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.