President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Hiroshima on Saturday for discussions with the G7, having won long-desired access to modern US fighter jets to enhance Ukraine’s defense.
Zelensky’s surprise summit presence – he had previously been anticipated to appear via video call – came after he praised the White House’s “historic” decision to enable Ukraine to purchase F-16 fighter fighters.
The group of seven rich democracies are meeting in Japan to discuss issues including the need for “constructive and stable” relations with China, which the bloc accused Saturday of “economic coercion”.
The summit, however, was dominated by Zelensky’s appearance and debate over the future of Russia’s 15-month-old invasion of Ukraine.
After a protracted winter of battle in which Russia made gains in the eastern city of Bakhmut, Ukraine’s military are ready to launch a counteroffensive but remain heavily reliant on Western weaponry.
When he landed, Zelensky said that the conference would bring “increased cooperation for our victory,” and that “today, peace will be closer.”
According to military experts, the aircraft would be a considerable upgrade over Ukraine’s ageing Soviet-era fleet, providing better capability to hit targets in the air or on the ground.
They are also a powerful symbol of Western support for Ukraine, putting an end to any discussion of dwindling enthusiasm while the conflict continues.