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G7 summit: Zelenskyy pushes Ukraine peace plan in Hiroshima

May 21, 2023

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made an appearance at the G7 meeting, seeking military and diplomatic assistance from allies. He also met with leaders of Global South countries such as India and Indonesia.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Ukraine's Zelenskyy, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau
Zelenskyy wants to shore support from friends during the Japan visit, particularly in regards to weapons deliveries such as F-16sImage: Stefan Rousseau-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appealed for diplomatic and military assistance in Japan's Hiroshima on Sunday, as he spoke with G7 allies and a few nations that have refrained from condemning Russia's invasion.

"The more we all work together, the less likely anyone else in the world will follow Russia's insane path. But is this enough?" he said in a tweet.

Zelenskyy spent most of the morning in meetings with world leaders, and later in the day laid wreaths with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

The site commemorates the victims of the atomic bomb the US military dropped in 1945.

Lula-Zelenskyy meeting falls through

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva says a planned meeting with Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelesnkyy did not happen because the Ukrainian leader was late.

Zelenskyy and Lula were set to meet on the sidelines of the G7 summit.

"I had an interview, a bilateral one with Ukraine here in this room at 3:15 p.m. We waited and received the information that he was late," Lula said.

Zelenskyy "did not show up ... Clearly he had appointments and he couldn't come," Lula said.

Zelenskyy delivers speech at end of summit, clarifies Bakhmut claims

Zelenskyy clarified in a press conference at the end of the summit that Russian forces weren't controlling Bakhmut, saying the town "is not occupied by the Russian Federation as of today."

Zelenskyy made the comments after confusion over whether the city had fallen to Russian forces.

The Ukrainian leader had earlier in the day conceded that little remained of the city, telling reporters that they "have to understand there there is nothing" because Russian forces have "destroyed everything."

Zelenskyy: 'Make Russia the last aggressor'

Biden announces Ukraine military aid 

US President Joe Biden met Zelenskyy earlier in the morning at the summit and announced an additional $375 million (€347 million) military aid package for Kyiv to assist it in the fight against Russia. The move comes a day after US said it would train Ukrainian pilots to use F-16 fighter jets and would allow its allies to supply the planes.

Biden said in a press conference at the end of the summit that Kyiv's allies "will not waver, Putin will not break our resolve as he thought he could." He said the Ukrainian leader had provided him "a flat assurance" that Kyiv would not use F-16s to attack Russian territory.

Zelenskyy then met other leaders, like South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, on the sidelines of the summit as well. 

The Ukrainian leader thanked Yoon, whom he met for the first time, for the "humanitarian and non-lethal assistance to Ukraine, in particular, for demining vehicles." 

Zelenskyy rallied countries around a ten-point peace plan, saying the plan was built to ensure that "everyone in the world can choose the track they can contribute to."

Biden: US would support effort to train Ukrainian pilots

Zelenskyy urges Global South countries to back Ukrainian cause

The surprise visit to Hiroshima is not only a chance for Zelenskyy to confer with G7 leaders, but also to deliver a message to heads of Global South countries who have been hesitant to condemn Russia's invasion.

One of the skeptical leaders present at the summit is Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has accused the West of "encouraging the war." Lula did not meet the Ukrainian president.  

Zelenskyy seeks to win over India, Brazil: DW reports

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has avoided outright condemnation of Russia, spoke with Zelenskyy on Saturday, expressing sympathy for the Ukrainian leader and his citizens. 

Zelenskyy expressed optimism about the encounter Saturday, believing that India "will contribute to the restoration of the rules-based international order that all free nations clearly need."

Western allies pledge continued support

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country would support Ukraine for as long as it takes and continue training Ukrainian military. Canadian forces have been training Ukrainian military and security personnel in advanced skills since 2015

French President Emmanuel Macron lauded Zelenskyy's trip to Japan as "a pathway to peace," considering it an "honor" to have provided the plane that transported the Ukrainian leader to Hiroshima.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that any peace plan should not merely freeze the conflict but insisted that "Russia should not assume that it can weaken support for Ukraine by holding out."

Even before Zelenskyy's arrival on Saturday, the G7 group had announced a slew of new sanctions and other measures meant to punish Moscow. 

F-16 decision 'a great result'

The White House recently allowed allied nations to provide F-16 fighter jets to Kyiv, paving a path for Ukraine to receive the sophisticated military equipment.

The decision was framed as part of a US strategy to support Ukraine "in a way that avoids World War III," deflecting criticism of the delayed response.

Although Zelenskyy acknowledged that the jets would not immediately impact the ongoing conflict, he hailed the decision as "a great result" that would help protect Ukrainian society and families.

What difference would fighter jets make for Ukraine?

G7 leaders address China concerns

While the topic of Ukraine has dominated the summit, leaders also addressed concerns about China.

Biden said in a press conference that relations between the US and China should thaw "very shortly" after tensions rose between the two countries over suspected Chinese spy balloons in US airspace earlier this year.

"It got shot down and everything changed in terms of talking to one another. I think you're going to see that begin to thaw very shortly," Biden said. The US military shot down the balloons, enraging Beijing.

During the court of the summit, the G7 urged China to influence Russia in ending its invasion of Ukraine while expressing their continued desire for "constructive and stable relations" with China. 

The leaders' joint statement statement indirectly denounced Chinese attempts to weaponize trade and supply chains, warning that such efforts would "fail and face consequences."

In response, China expressed "strong dissatisfaction" with the G7's final communique, and Russia criticized the group's decisions taken at the Hiroshima summit, alleging an aim to contain both Russia and China, according to Moscow's top diplomat Sergey Lavrov.

rm, tg/wd  (AP, Reuters)