War,-time Ukranian President, Volodymyr Zelensky will make an audacious trip halfway around the world to appear in person at the Group of 7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, this weekend, a Ukrainian official said, as he tries to win commitments for continued arms and aid from the world’s wealthiest democracies.
Details of Zelensky’s travel have been kept vague and closely guarded for security reasons due to the possibility of a Russian attack on his flight or convoy.
The G7 leaders presently in Hiroshima — including President Biden and his counterparts from Japan, Canada, Britain, France, Germany and Italy will be talking over the next three days about how to hamper Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.
Reports say the G7 will likely discuss sanctions enforcement, whether to provide F-16 fighter jets to Kyiv and the possibility of negotiations over an armistice or peace treaty.
Oleksii Danilov, the head of Ukraine’s national defense council, announced Zelensky’s trip on national television following news reports that he would attend.
“Very important things will be done there; therefore, the physical presence of our president is important in order to defend our interests,” Danilov said. “To provide clear proposals and clear arguments regarding the events taking place on the territory of our country.”
In the past week, Zelensky has visited Britain France, Germany and Italy and there has been no known efforts by the Russians to interfere with his travels.
The leaders of India, Brazil and other nations that have been reluctant to support Ukraine will also be at the meeting, as observers, making Zelensky’s presence all the more important to make them change their support towards Russia, according to Ukranian officials.
Before the Financial Times broke the news of Zelensky’s physical presence at the G7, Ukrainian and Japanese news media had previously suggested that he would join the G7 summit virtually.
As Ukraine prepares for an imminent counter-offensive to regain territories lost to Russia, Ukraine hopes to turn the tide of a conflict that in recent months has settled into a grinding battle with little movement.
“We have a task to maintain the momentum of international support and communication for Ukraine,” Zelensky said in his nightly address on Thursday. “I am confident that we will accomplish this task.”